If you're an adult concerned about your dental care, you might try several things to protect your teeth, including using an electric water flosser. But there's one more thing you can do to improve and protect your teeth from decay. You can eliminate the snacks in your diet that contain hidden sugar. Here's how the sugar from your healthy snacks affects your teeth and what you can replace your snacks with instead.

How Do Healthy Snacks Cause Tooth Decay?

If you think it's safe to snack on nutrition bars, diet shakes, and other "smart foods" instead of hard candy, fruity drinks, and potato chips, think again. Even some healthy foods and beverages contain small amounts of artificial or processed sugar. Some of the hidden sugar can settle on your tooth enamel, turn into plaque, and attract the bacteria lurking in your mouth.

Once bacteria build up on your tooth enamel, they produce a toxic substance called acid. Acid can weaken and thin out your tooth enamel by dissolving the minerals inside it. In many adults, the loss of minerals can potentially lead to tooth decay or something worse.

Cavities can spread to the layers beneath your enamel, including the pulp chamber. The pulp chamber contains living nerves, blood vessels, and several other tissues that keep teeth healthy. If the nerves and blood vessels die inside the chamber, a tooth is no longer viable or alive.

You can snack smart without damaging your teeth.

What Changes in Your Diet Can You Make?

If you rely on snack bars and energy shakes to get you through the day, replace them with fresh slices of apple, celery sticks, and carrots. These foods energize your body without damaging your tooth enamel. The foods may also remove or pull plaque from between your teeth and stimulate your gum tissue to grow. You want to keep your gums healthy to prevent gum disease in the future.

Also, drink plenty of fresh water during the day to keep you from snacking. Water doesn't contain sugar or other additives that can damage your enamel. The natural liquid also keeps tooth decay at bay by hydrating your mouth and washing away plaque and bacteria. You can add fresh slices of kiwi, strawberries, or frozen grapes to sweeten your water instead of sugar packets.

If you experience any problems with your teeth now or in the future, contact a family dentist for care.