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The holiday season is here, and you’re probably heading to parties, family gatherings and other celebrations that boast tables of tasty holiday dishes and libations. While you’re probably looking for ways to avoid holiday weight gain, it’s also important to keep your oral health in mind as you head to all the best parties. Although it’s fine to indulge in a few treats during the holidays, the following are three foods your San Francisco dentist thinks you should avoid to keep your teeth bright and healthy.

1 – Sugary Cakes, Cookies and Pies

All those holiday gatherings are sure to be loaded with sugary cakes, cookies, pies and other confections. While it’s tempting to fill your plate with these delicious treats, indulging in sugary foods can lead to dental problems. When you eat sugar, bacteria feed on those sugars, which can lead to tooth decay. Sure, it’s okay to nibble a sweet treat here and there, but avoid loading up on the sugary holiday foods or your teeth will pay the price.

2 – Sticky, Starchy Foods

Sticky, starchy foods should also be avoided if you want to keep your teeth bright and healthy. These foods cling to teeth and your saliva has a tough time dissolving complex carbohydrates. Since these foods stick to your teeth longer than sugars, they are a great breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to cavities. Think twice before indulging in sticky starchy foods like potato chips, mashed potatoes and certain dried fruits.

3 – Alcoholic Beverages

Alcohol flows freely at many holiday celebrations and it’s easy to pick up a glass of red wine or a sweet, mixed drink while you enjoy the company of friends and family members. However, your San Francisco Dentist recommends that you avoid alcoholic beverages to keep teeth healthy. Remember, alcohol acts like an acid to teeth, and many mixed drinks include sweet sodas or fruit juices, which are full of sugar. Wines and ciders have natural and added sugars, as well as fruit acids, which can damage teeth. While it’s best to avoid alcoholic beverages, if you can’t say no to a drink, try a gin and tonic or make sure your brush and floss immediately after drinking.

Remember, while the holidays are an important part of the year, your teeth are an important part of your life. Stuffing yourself with the wrong foods during the holiday season can do long term damage to your pearly whites, so do your best to avoid, or at least limit, these foods during the holiday celebrations this year.