Pumpkin has been slowly creeping into our collective consciousness since August, as store decorations and as that long awaited flavor in our favorite coffee shops. Pumpkin is a comforting symbol of the fall season, often conjuring up visions of delicious pumpkin pies, warm pumpkin spice lattes, and the promise of spooky nights and big holiday dinners. The pumpkin stands for so much in our culture, we tend to forget that it’s a healthy fruit that could do wonders for our oral health and is good for more than just decorating our porches on Halloween night.
How Good is Pumpkin For Your Oral Health?
Pumpkin is basically a superfood. It’s very rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Pumpkin seeds contain both iron and magnesium, which are both beneficial to the overall strength of your teeth and gums. Iron helps prevent anemia, which will keep your gums and teeth healthy. Consider this your dentist’s endorsement of your roasted pumpkin seed craving from now on; just go easy on any spicy toppings.
If the pumpkin is more your preference, you’re in luck. Canned pumpkin is packed with enough Vitamin A to more than cover your recommended daily dose, as well as Vitamin C, and Zinc, all of which will promote healthy gums. Canned pumpkin is also 90 percent water, which will help promote saliva production and more easily wash away any sugar lingering on your teeth from any sweet treats you may have indulged in recently.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Anyone?
Speaking of sugar, do not take pumpkin’s sudden status as a cure all as an excuse to go all out on everyone’s favorite fall coffee drink. Yes, the pumpkin spice latte is delicious, but it is still a sugary, coffee-based drink, and sugar mixed with acid is the worst nightmare of every tooth in your mouth. That doesn’t mean you can’t have one, but you should probably brush your teeth before drinking one to help strengthen your tooth enamel against all of that acidity.
Fall is the season of the pumpkin, so it’s natural to want to make some delicious fall-themed dishes with the quintessential gourd, especially now that you know how good it is for your teeth and gums. Since you now know that pumpkin pie and the latte aren’t your best choices, some alternatives could be a pumpkin smoothie, pumpkin hummus, pumpkin oat cookies, or make some pumpkin bread with Greek yogurt instead of the normal butter. It will be the best of all worlds: a satisfying pumpkin treat for fall that’s also healthy and protects your teeth.
Adding pumpkin to your diet, something you can do all year long, will help to promote oral health, but it’s not a substitute for brushing your teeth and flossing, and it’s certainly not a substitute for your bi-annual check-ups to your dentist. If it’s that time of the year, or if you have any questions about how pumpkin can promote your oral health, call or make an appointment with Dr. Bruce Silva.
Dr. Silva and his team are always happy to answer your questions and help with any of your family’s oral health care needs.