Why they're harmful: Chips, pretzels and popcorn contain carbohydrates and sugars, which when combined with the germs in your mouth, begin to ferment and produce lactic acid. The lactic acid then begins to dissolve the outer layer of the tooth. Different carbohydrates form lactic acid at different rates, and popcorn is one of the worst. Damage can start within seven minutes. Your saliva should buffer the acids to neutralize them and prevent harm. Sometimes saliva helps, sometimes it does not. The reality is that you may never know until it's too late.
What to substitute: Try healthier snacks such as fruit, vegetables and yogurt. Yogurt, cheese and nuts all contain phosphorous which strengthens teeth.
How to reduce harmful effects:
1. The best way is to brush within seven minutes of eating these snacks.
2. If that's not possible, use a toothpick to remove the popcorn stuck in and around your pearly whites. Leaving it can cause cavities and gum disease.