It’s October, which means that the month will be spent watching Hocus Pocus, dreaming up the perfect Halloween costume and consuming everything pumpkin, from pie to coffee to beer. Pumpkin has become a staple of October and of the autumn season as a whole — and for good reason. Seasonal pumpkin treats are delicious and often only available once a year. However, there are a few things everyone should keep in mind about pumpkin in relation to oral health to make sure teeth are healthy and strong.
Pumpkin Is Full Of Vitamins and Minerals
Pumpkin has a significant amount of vitamins and minerals that can aid in oral health. It is especially high in zinc, which boosts bone and tooth strength. A deficiency in zinc can result in weak bones and teeth, so consuming pumpkin can help protect oral health. Additionally, zinc can improve gum health. Bleeding gums and gingivitis are often linked to zinc deficiencies, so pumpkin can help keep zinc levels at a proper rate.
Magnesium is another mineral prevalent in pumpkin that helps the oral cavity. Magnesium works in conjunction with calcium to strengthen tooth enamel and protect teeth from decay. Without magnesium, calcium has a harder time fortifying enamel.
Pumpkin also contains Vitamin A and Vitamin C, both of which promote oral health in different ways. Vitamin A helps the body’s healing efforts and can bolster the ability of gums to heal. Vitamin C is good for the immune system, which helps your body fight oral infections more effectively.
Eat The Right Pumpkin Treats
There are so many great pumpkin-based goodies this time of year. Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin bread. Pumpkin roll. Pumpkin ice cream. Pumpkin spice lattes. Pumpkin pancakes. Pumpkin cream cheese. Pumpkin Cheerios. Pumpkin chocolate. Pretty much pumpkin everything. That being said, a lot of these products are sweet and contain a decent amount of sugar, which can be detrimental to teeth and cause decay.
That doesn’t mean avoid the pumpkin bread and lattes altogether, but instead be cognizant of the amount of sugar you’re consuming. Consume these products in relative moderation and brush your teeth after eating or drinking them, if possible.
There are healthier pumpkin foods out there as well beyond the worlds of PSLs and pumpkin pies. If you want to watch the sugar and still eat some festive foods, consider pumpkin soups and seeds as an alternative to the sugary ones to get the benefits
The Final Word
When it comes down to it, eat pumpkin-flavored sweets in moderation and remember to floss and brush your teeth afterward. It’s not the pumpkin that causes problems, but rather the sugar coupled with it. Remember that pumpkin seeds and soups can provide the dental benefits without the sugar, and contact your dentist with any questions you may have.