You would have probably heard that folic acid is a prenatal powerhouse. But did you know that it plays a vital role in keeping your mouth healthy?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), folic acid is an essential element because it can prevent significant defects of the baby’s spine and brain. In addition, low levels of folic acid can cause anemia, which also affects the gums and tongue.
You would be surprised to know that vitamin B9 or folic acid is remarkably important in supporting the cells that make up your gums. The vitamin also plays an important role in your mouth’s ability to fight off inflammation and disease.
What is Folic Acid?
Folic acid, also known as Vitamin B9, is an essential nutrient that promotes cell repair, cell growth, and disease prevention.
Folic acid is necessary for the proper production of red blood cells. The vitamin manages the ways our cells divide and carry oxygen throughout the body. Folate is a key component to the health of our hearts, brains, and more. The vitamin is also found in the soft tissues of our mouths.
Studies have also shown that the foci acid plays a crucial role in the formation of human DNA. If you have a lack of folate – it could be linked to chromosome breakage. Folic acid deficiency can lead to an increased risk for certain cancers and cognitive defects in your body.
Other studies have shown that folic acid is even more critical for women who are pregnant. Pregnant women should ensure the proper intake of B9 or folic acid, especially during the early stages of pregnancy. It can drastically reduce the risk of fetal brain and spine defects in newborn babies.
Is folate the same as folic acid? The terms folate and folic acid are often used interchangeably. But they are not the same, but many get away with considering them as the same.
At a higher level, folate is vitamin B9 that occurs naturally in leafy vegetables, avocados, asparagus, broccoli, oranges, bananas, and legumes.
On the other hand, folic acid is the man-made version of the vitamin that comes in supplement form. It is often added to fortified food such as bread, cereal, and rice.
How Folic Acid Affects Your Oral Health?
So the next question is, does folic acid help in any other way? Yes. Folic acid can be a crucial vitamin for oral health.
When your body lacks RBCs, it leads to a condition called anemia. For people suffering from anemia – oxygen does not reach cells across their bodies.
In terms of mouth health, you might notice various symptoms. There is soreness in the tongue and a lack of color of the gums.
Folate can play an essential role if you have any of these conditions. The human body needs B9 to make red blood cells. By consuming enough folate, you can reduce the symptoms of anemia or prevent it from happening altogether.
Folic acid or vitamin B9 is vital in supporting the cells that constitute the gums, as well as your mouth’s ability to fight off inflammation and disease. Those who lack adequate amounts of this vitamin can find themselves at risk for gum diseases such as bleeding, bad breath, and cavities.
If you do not address proper diet and dental care, the symptoms can lead to advanced periodontal disease. They could lead to potentially causing loss of teeth, receding gums, and the need for invasive periodontal treatment.
The good news is that if you intake a diet high in folate; it could help prevent gum disease from developing. What’s more, if you are looking to stop receding gums from getting worse, you can turn to folate to stop it.
In case you end up needing a periodontal treatment, folate could help you with post-procedure healing and might even prevent symptoms from returning in the future.
Folic Acid is Great for Your Teeth
Do you have plans to up your intake of vitamins? And the one to pay extra attention to is folic acid or folate, otherwise known as vitamin B9. T
This powerhouse nutrient plays a vital role in many functions throughout your body. Including maintaining the health of our teeth, gums, and mouth.
The best way to get enough Vitamin B9 or folic acid into your system is through your diet. Many grains like bread, pasta, and cereal are fortified with folate. The vitamin is found naturally in romaine lettuce, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, peas, beets, beans, lentils, peanuts, and sunflower seeds.
Your dentist might also recommend using folic acid toothpaste or mouthwash in order to get a sufficient amount into your body.
Hence you must get enough folate every day because it is water-soluble. Meaning it will not be stored in the human body for very long.
Moreover, your folate levels need to be replenished to avoid deficiency complications. It is especially important for pregnant women to get enough folate. This is because the child could be born with a spine or brain defect if not enough folate is obtained.
Everyone needs to get enough folate to reduce your chances of developing gum disease. Numerous people suffer from mild to severe gum disease.
The best ways to treat it is with daily brushing and flossing in addition to a scheduled dental examination with your dentist at least twice a year.
Folic acid also helps with gum disease because it helps repair the damaged cells in your gum tissue. Folate works together with Vitamin C to help prevent and treat periodontal disease, no matter your age.
Why is Folic Acid Essential for Your Body?
When you are pregnant, your body has an increased need for red blood cells or RBC production. It is then when folic acid, also known as synthetic folate or vitamin B9, can play an essential role in RBC production.
Folate is often associated with pregnancy because it reduces your possibility of defects of the newborn’s spine and brain. Getting enough folate can also help in preventing neural tube defects.
Gum Disease and Folic Acid
Have you noticed that periodontal disease is more common among people in their sixties than among teens. Even though older adults are more dental savvy and brush regularly. The difference is probably because their body’s ability to fight off the attacks of bacteria decreases with aging.
Your immune system attacks the invading organisms as soon as the bacterial infections such as periodontal disease occur. Your whole body fights against the harmful organisms including your network of cells, tissues, and organs all working together.
With age, your body can less digest the nutrients required to maintain an optimal immune system. So it is very important to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and properly supplement your diet. All this is required to avoid any kind of gum disease.
A healthy diet will provide sufficient antioxidants that will prevent cell oxidation and reduce diseases like heart disease and even cancer. Antioxidants help prevent cell oxidation and support your immune system.
Without any other dental treatment, a nutritional supplement alone can significantly lower your symptoms of bleeding and tissue damage often caused by periodontal disease. This has been confirmed by a research conducted at Loma Linda University.
Folate are necessary for the production and maintenance of your new cells in the body. They are especially important especially during rapid cell division and growth. For example during pregnancy and infancy.
Folate is also needed to make DNA and RNA, the building blocks of cells. The vitamin also helps prevent changes to DNA that might lead to cancer. Both children and adults alike need folic acid to make normal red blood cells and prevent anemia.
How Much Folic Acid Do You Need Per Day?
Both folate and folic acid are indeed forms of a water-soluble B vitamin. Folate generally occurs naturally in the food you take. Whereas folic acid is the synthetic form of folate found in supplements and fortified foods.
Unfortunately, more than 20% of the population fail to convert this vitamin and thus do not receive its full nutritional benefits. When your body does not convert enough folic acid to L-methyl folate, excess homocysteine levels may accumulate. Several published studies have linked excessive homocysteine with common age-related problems and disorders.
As with most essential vitamins, it is always best to get as much of your folate as you can from a healthy, balanced diet. However, many individuals may still benefit from adding a folic acid supplement to their daily schedule.
According to the National Institutes of Health the daily dose recommended for an adult is 400 micrograms.
However, certain groups might need higher doses to get the full effects of the this vitamin. These might include women who are pregnant or lactating, and people with limited diets. Higher doses are also needed for people who consume excessive alcoholic drinks as alcohol often interferes with folate absorption.
You also need to keep in mind that, while folic acid certainly has its benefits, consuming too much could have potentially negative side effects.
As for your oral health, eat a diet of folate-rich foods and also make regular trips to your dentist. Also stay on top of proper at-home care – all this is your first line of defense for keeping your mouth happy and healthy. But in case your teeth and gums still need a little help, consult with your dentist to see if a folic acid supplement could be right for you.