Folic acid is a B vitamin essential for overall health and wellness. It is well known for its importance during pregnancy, but it also plays a crucial role in oral health.
In fact, folic acid is often called the “super vitamin” for teeth and gums due to its numerous benefits.
Here we explore folic acid, how it affects oral health, its benefits for gum disease, foods high in folic acid, and folic acid supplements.
What is Folic Acid?
Folic acid, or folate, is a water-soluble B vitamin found naturally in many foods. It is crucial in many bodily functions, including DNA formation and red blood cells. In addition, studies show folic acid deficiency can link to chromosome breakage, leading to an increased risk of congenital disabilities and some cancers.
As folic acid is essential for healthy teeth and gums, it’s also beneficial for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and eyes. However, the human body cannot produce folic acid independently; therefore, it must be obtained through diet or supplementation.
How Folic Acid Affects Oral Health
Folic acid is essential for maintaining good oral health. It plays a vital role in cell growth and development, which is necessary for healthy gums and teeth. When the body is deficient in folic acid, its at a higher risk of gum disease, including bad breath, cavities and gum line bleeding. If not addressed with the proper dental care and diet, low folic acid can bring on advanced periodontal disease, resulting in receding gums, tooth loss and invasive periodontal treatment.
Folic acid also helps to prevent oral infections by supporting the immune system. It enables the body to fight off harmful bacteria and viruses that can cause gum disease and other oral health problems. Folic acid is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce swelling and inflammation in the gums.
Folic Acid for Gum Disease
Millions of people worldwide are affected by gum disease. It’s caused by plaque buildup on the teeth and gums, which can lead to inflammation and infection.
Research has shown that folic acid is an effective way to reduce inflammation in the gums and can even reverse some of the damage caused by the disease. In one study, patients with gum disease who took folic acid supplements experienced significant improvements in their gum health. In addition, folic acid greatly helps post-procedure healing for a patient with extensive periodontal treatment. And can help to prevent symptoms from returning.
Foods High in Folic Acid
Folic acid (folate) is found naturally in many foods, including leafy green vegetables, beans, and citrus fruits. Here are a few examples of foods that are high in folic acid:
- Spinach: One cup of cooked spinach contains over 260 micrograms of folic acid.
- Lentils: One cup of cooked lentils contains over 350 micrograms of folic acid.
- Oranges: One medium-sized orange contains around 50 micrograms of folic acid.
- Broccoli: One cup of cooked broccoli contains over 100 micrograms of folic acid.
- Avocado: One medium-sized avocado contains around 90 micrograms of folic acid.
Folic Acid Supplements
If you’re not getting enough folic acid through your diet, consider taking a folic acid supplement or mouthwash daily. Surveys have shown that folic acid mouthwash has been more effective in people with gum problems.
How Much Folic Acid Do You Need?
The National Institutes of Health recommends the doses below in micrograms (mcg).
Birth to 6 months – 65 mcg*
7 to 12 months – 80 mcg*
1 to 3 years – 150 mcg
4 to 8 years – 200 mcg
9 to 13 years – 300 mcg
14+ years – 400 mcg
Certain groups may require a higher dose, such as pregnant and lactating women, people with celiac disease or IBS, those with limited folate diets, and those who consume high amounts of alcohol, which can interfere with folate absorption.
In addition, too much of anything can have potentially harmful effects.
Learn More and Schedule a Dental Consultation with an NJ Top Rated Dentist
Dr. Paul Feldman at Suburban Essex Dental has been rated at the top of NJ dentists for the past 12 years. A recognition undoubtedly to be proud of. Contact us to schedule your next dental appointment to get the best dental care.