Fall is upon us! And if you’re like our team, you believe fall is one of the best seasons of all. Sweater weather, boots, gorgeous colours, crunchy leaves and of course, pumpkins.
And as enjoyable as pumpkins are to look at (especially when they’ve been carved out), did you know that pumpkins are also an excellent source for many dental and oral benefits? It’s true! Pumpkins offer our mouths many different benefits.
Continue reading below for a list of different benefits pumpkins offer our mouths and teeth.
The Benefits of Eating Pumpkin
High in Zinc
Do you suffer from bleeding gums? Pumpkin could be your answer. Pumpkin is exceptionally high in zinc. And while we all know Zinc is linked to bone strength, Zinc is also known to boost gum health.
High in Magnesium
Your tooth’s enamel acts like its bodyguard. It protects your teeth from tooth decay and other harmful diseases and bacteria. And although we know that calcium is what strengthens enamel, calcium depends heavily on Magnesium to ensure your enamel is as durable and hard as possible. Without it, your enamel may be soft and weaker than it needs to be.
Vitamins are hugely responsible for many of the positive things that happen in our mouths. Specifically, Vitamin A and C, both of which are easily found in pumpkin, are responsible for healing damaged gums and defending against oral infections.
As you can see, pumpkin provides our mouths and teeth with many of the vitamins and nutrients we need to maintain healthy gums, teeth and mouths. And aside from the Zinc, Magnesium and vitamins found in pumpkin, pumpkin seeds are also known to contain high levels of Iron which help keep our tongues healthy.
Not so Fast!
With all this talk about pumpkin and fall, we can only assume that a significant portion of you are picturing pumpkin spice lattes. This is where the tone of this article changes. Yes, we raved about the benefits of pumpkin above, but pumpkin spice lattes are a completely different story.
Fake pumpkin lattes are incredibly harmful to your teeth and mouth. They may be good for short-term indulgence, but they can be the cause of many long-lasting diseases and symptoms.
The Downsides to Pumpkin Spice Lattes
High Amounts of Sugar
Pumpkin spice lattes are notorious for containing extremely high levels of sugar— typically, around 12 teaspoons. That's more than double the recommended daily intake! And with that much sugar entering your mouth, if you aren't brushing it away immediately, it can cause severe cavities.
Much like coffee and other hot drinks, pumpkin spice lattes contain caffeine. And when consumed in moderation, caffeine is completely safe. But when too much caffeine is consumed, it can cause jittery teeth and jaw clenching. And sure, these may seem like minor actions now, but over time these actions can lead to tooth sensitivity, cracked teeth and jaw pain, to name a few.
Nobody likes bad breath. And drinks like coffee and pumpkin spice lattes tend to be one of the major causes of bad breath. This is because these drinks stick to your tongue (microscopic amounts) and cause bacteria to grow. Lucky for you, this can be prevented with a simple tongue scraper on your toothbrush.
We’ve all seen the toothpaste commercials advertising whiter, brighter smiles, but what exactly causes the discolouration in the first place? Your answer? Caffeine. The caffeine in a pumpkin spice latte contains acid which over time wears away at our teeth’s enamel. As it wears away the enamel, it leaves our teeth vulnerable to decay and eventually discolouration.
We hate to be the bearer of bad news when it comes to the truth about pumpkin spice lattes, but as dentists, we believe healthy, strong teeth are much more important than a quick treat. But pumpkin lovers fear not. As you read above, natural pumpkin is great for your teeth! Add it to a smoothie, snack on its seeds, or bake it to enjoy the rich benefits of wholesome, natural pumpkin. The cleaner and more natural you can keep the recipe, the better. Your teeth and mouth will be happy and so will your taste buds.
If you have any questions regarding anything discussed above, we encourage you to reach out to us by phone or email, and we would be more than happy to chat with you.