Folic Acid and Your Oral Health

Folic Acid and Your Oral Health

Folate and folic acid are essential for healthy cells. And these include the cells in your gums!

You’ve probably heard about the importance of folate, or vitamin B9, for the prevention of birth defects when one is pregnant. But did you know this powerful nutrient can keep your gums and teeth healthy?

Folate is an essential ingredient in red blood cell production. By delivering oxygen to tissues throughout your body, your red blood cells support healthy cell growth and repair. On the other hand, folate deficiency has been linked to fetal brain and spinal cord abnormalities during the early stages of pregnancy. Lack of folate has been associated with certain cancers, as well. But just as importantly, folate plays a crucial role in oral health. Read on to understand why you need folate and folic acid in your diet to prevent gum disease.

The importance of folate for oral health

Your gums are made up of cells. Like cells elsewhere in the body, cells in your gums require folate and the oxygen it brings to stay strong and healthy. Without it, you may suffer from anemia, which has a long-term effect on your gums. Your gums may bleed, lose their reddish color, and you may also experience soreness along your tongue.

Gingivitis, an early sign of gum disease, may develop when your cells are deprived of folate. Without intervention, gingivitis could progress to advanced periodontal disease, leading to receding gums, cavities, and possibly even tooth loss. As such, boosting your folate intake may prevent gum disease. Now, let’s explore how you can do that.

How to get enough folate

First, knowing the difference between folate and folic acid is essential. Folate is a naturally occurring vitamin found in several foods. Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate. You can get your folate from either your diet or supplements. 

The recommended daily dose of folate is 400 micrograms (mcg) for adults. Pregnant women or women planning to get pregnant may need to increase their dosage to 1,000 mcg of folic acid. Those with digestive disorders that prevent the absorption of certain nutrients in the intestines also need more folate in their diets. 

Looking to get more folate in your diet? Try these four ways:

Fruits & Vegetables. Leafy, dark green vegetables like spinach, avocados, broccoli, and asparagus are packed with folate. Fruits such as oranges, lemons, bananas, melons, and strawberries are also rich in folate.

Dried Beans. Lentils, nuts, and peas are good sources of folate.

Enriched Foods. Many cereals, pasta, bread, rice products, and flour have added folate. The nutrition label will specify the amount.

Supplements. In addition to folic acid supplements, many multivitamins contain folic acid, too. Go for a supplement with 100 percent of the daily value for both folic acid and vitamin B-12.

Likewise, you can take supplements and eat a folate-rich diet to ensure you’re never low on the vitamin. Taking folic acid orally at the recommended dosages is generally safe since any excess is excreted through urine. However, one side effect could be a bad taste in your mouth. And always check with your doctor about any interactions the supplements may have with other medications you’re prescribed.

If you require periodontal treatment, folate acid can promote healing and possibly prevent recurring gum disease symptoms. In fact, one study found that a folate mouthwash reduced the bleeding and gum changes associated with gingivitis, underscoring that folate and folic acid are vital for oral health.

Your oral health is important

Schedule an appointment at Espire’s La Mesa location today! Our highly trained dentists can check your teeth and discuss a diet that supports healthy gums and teeth. Don’t live near our La Mesa, CA office? Find one of our other locations near you.

La Mesa, CA
8555 Fletcher Parkway
Suite 102 
La Mesa, CA 91942