Pumpkin spice is an autumn flavor staple! Between pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, and all of the other options that fill every restaurant and coffee shop this time of year, you’re bound to enjoy at least a couple of pumpkin treats before the year is over. Do you know if your favorite pumpkin spice treat is good for you and your teeth? Keep reading to find out!
Beware of the Fake Flavors
Not all pumpkin spice products are created equal. In order to benefit from all of the possible nutritional benefits of pumpkin and pumpkin spice, it is important to make sure you are consuming the real thing. Unfortunately, treats like pumpkin spice lattes are often full of additives like sugar that can damage your teeth. Many don’t even contain any actual pumpkin! While it is perfectly alright to treat yourself every once in a while, your daily coffee habit can get out of hand during the holidays. Try adding your own pumpkin spice blend to coffee at home, or seek out treats made with natural ingredients!
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!
Is Pumpkin a Superfood?
While not every pumpkin-flavored treat is 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. Your gums will definitely appreciate it! Other amazing benefits of pumpkin include vitamin A, which aids in the flow of saliva, and vitamin C, which helps keep your immune system strong enough to fight off infections. Pumpkins also contain magnesium, which works together with calcium to build strong tooth enamel and prevent cavities. As a bonus, pumpkins are even packed with fiber, which helps scrub your teeth and also contributes to saliva production!
Pumpkin Snack Ideas
Try to 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 carving pumpkins, or find them in snack packs at your local grocery 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. See you at your next cleaning!