The summer months in particular wreak havoc on children’s dental health because of the increases in outdoor activity and sugary food consumption that are so often seen during the summer. This means that you need to pay particularly close attention to your children’s dental health, taking extra precaution as necessary. Here are some tips to ensuring strong dental health in your children during the summer.

Wear a mouthguard

During the summer, especially when children are out of school, children spend more time playing outdoor sports and participating in activities that carry high risk for injury. Mouth and tooth injuries such as chipped or broken teeth are especially common injuries resulting from rigorous outdoor sports. If your child participates in contact sports such as football and soccer during the summer, be sure to have him or her wear a mouthguard during play. Having your child do so could save you a trip to the emergency room—and to your dentist, as well.

Protect teeth during swimming

Did you know that improper pH levels in swimming pools can cause teeth to become discolored or even tooth enamel to become eroded? When swimming pool water is too acidic—that is, when it has a pH below the recommend 7.2 to 7.6—that acidity can actually come into contact with your teeth and cause breakdown of your tooth enamel, just the way that acidic foods do. In order to make sure that your child’s tooth enamel stays intact, make sure that your child uses a toothpaste fortified with fluoride for strengthening tooth enamel. It’s also important if you have your own pool that your family enjoys that maintain proper chlorine and pH levels so that the breakdown of tooth enamel in the water doesn’t happen in the first place.

Stay away from sugary foods

When your children aren’t in school and are enjoying more party and vacation time, they are much more likely to indulge in teeth-damaging sugary foods and practice regular snacking, which in and of itself wreaks havoc on teeth. Fight hard to maintain healthy eating habits for your children during the summertime. One great way to do this is to take advantage of the many fruits and vegetables that are in season and to make frequent trips to the farmers markets in your area. Also be sure to maintain regular mealtimes with your children even though routines have changed since the school year ended.