Unless you’re specifically researching a health question (much like this one), it’s hard to know if the information you have is true. Dental health information might filter through evening news reports or conversational asides. Some dental habits are just that — habits — and a lot of facts may have come indirectly from toothpaste commercials. The idea that fruits are bad for your teeth could have originated from anywhere.

So, is it true? Is fruit actually bad for your teeth?

Like almost every health question, the answer isn’t just a simple yes or no.

Most fruits are healthy. While they contain sugars and acids, they also contain plenty of nutrients and antioxidants that people need. The right fruits, especially ones that are low in unhelpful sugars, are a great addition to your diet. That means they’re great for your dental health, too. With the growing connection between cardiovascular health and gum health, your whole body’s health impacts your mouth.

However, those sugars and acids can be bad for your teeth. Long exposure times to the acid in citrus fruits can eat through the surface layers of a tooth. Sugars can also get trapped in your mouth and eat through your enamel. Sugars can also help unwanted bacterias grow faster.

The good news is, you can reap the benefits of fruits without harming your teeth. Just incorporate these habits:

1. Brush your teeth before acidic foods, not after.

The traditional advice is to brush your teeth as soon as you’re done eating. But that’s when your enamel is at its softest. Instead, brush your teeth ahead of time.

2. Look up the fruit you eat.

‘Fruit’ is a pretty broad category. Just like ‘meat’ includes both bacon and lean chicken, there are healthy fruits and unhealthy fruits. Maximize your teeth’s protection by looking for foods that don’t put them at risk.

3. Drink plenty of water.

Water will clean out your mouth. Whether you’re worried about acid or sugar, water can help rinse them away. It’s also good for your oral health in general. So stay hydrated.

For more dental tips and safe ways to keep your smile white, go to Exquisite Smiles here.