Nothing says “happy holidays” quite like the warm, delicious flavor of pumpkin spice. Whether you enjoy pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, or any of the other options that fill our favorite restaurants and coffee shops this season, you’re bound to consume at least a few pumpkin treats before the year is over. Did you know that your favorite pumpkin spice treat may actually be good for you and your teeth? Pumpkin and pumpkin spice can actually offer a lot of great health benefits.
Is Pumpkin a Superfood?
While not every pumpkin-flavored treat is exactly healthy for us, did you know that real pumpkin is a nutrient-dense food? Pumpkin is packed with important vitamins and minerals like zinc, which helps heal wounds and repair damaged tissues, including gum damage! Pumpkin also contains vitamin A, which aids in the production and flow of saliva, and vitamin C, which boosts your immune system and helps it stay strong enough to fight off infections. Another oral health-friendly mineral found in pumpkin is magnesium, which works together with calcium to build strong tooth enamel and prevent cavities. Pumpkins are even packed with fiber, which helps scrub your teeth while you eat it, and also contributes to saliva production!
The Real Thing
Not all pumpkin spice products are created equal. In order to reap all of the nutritional benefits of pumpkin and pumpkin spice, it is important to make sure you are consuming the real thing. Unfortunately, processed treats like pumpkin spice lattes are often full of additives like sugar that can damage your teeth and aren’t great for your body either. Many pumpkin spice treats don’t even contain any actual pumpkin! While it is perfectly alright to treat yourself every once in a while, remember that moderation and balance are key. Try making your own coffee treat by adding some pumpkin spice blend to coffee at home, or seek out treats made with natural ingredients!
Spice It Up
The spices used to create the iconic pumpkin spice flavor also carry some great health benefits! Cinnamon contains antioxidants to boost your immune system, as well as anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe irritation. Nutmeg has been proven to help ease insomnia in small doses, and can facilitate healthy digestion. Clove, which contains antimicrobial properties, may even help prevent against gum disease. Try these spices together in a delicious pumpkin spice treat, or find other creative ways to use them in your cooking. Your teeth will thank you!
Pumpkin Snack Ideas
So, how can you add the benefits of pumpkin spice to your diet? Choose treats like homemade pumpkin pie, pumpkin smoothies (try a smoothie with coconut milk, pumpkin, almond butter, and pumpkin spice!), or baked pumpkin. If pumpkin isn’t your thing, you can still get a lot of great health benefits from pumpkin seeds! Pumpkin seeds contain nutrients like iron, which helps keep the tissues in your mouth healthy and prevents anemia. You can bake the seeds left over from whole pumpkins, or find them ready to eat in snack packs at your local health food store.
This holiday season, enjoy pumpkin spice and all of its wonderful health benefits! In all the holiday madness, don’t forget to brush your teeth after you eat and keep on flossing. Good oral health is all about hygiene and holistic nutrition and health. If you have any questions or are due for a dental check up, call our office to schedule an appointment today!