Folic Acid: An Essential Nutrient for Dental Health

When it comes to the health of your teeth and gums, you may just think that as long as you brush and floss every day your mouth will be perfectly healthy. However, you also need to maintain a healthy diet to keep your pearly whites in pristine condition. Something that should absolutely be part of a balanced diet is folic acid, also known as Vitamin B9, and without it, you could be facing some serious health risks.

chemical formula of folic acidGum Disease

Folic acid assists with cell repair, so if you are at risk of developing gum disease, then it can help combat the disease by helping repair the cells in your gums. A surprising number of Americans (almost 50 percent) have some form of gum disease, whether it is gingivitis or periodontitis, so Vitamin B9 should be taken daily. Folic acid is water soluble, meaning it cannot be stored in the body, so you need to consume some every day in order to take advantage of the benefits.

Birth Defects

Although more research needs to be done, many experts believe there is a link between pregnant women who do not take enough folic acid and the presence of certain birth defects such as cleft lip or cleft palate. These issues can necessitate speech therapy or surgeries later in life, so many dental professionals recommend pregnant women err on the side of caution and take in plenty of Vitamin B9 during their pregnancy.

It is fairly easy to consume enough folic acid to avoid these issues. It can be found in numerous food sources, including:

  • Broccoli
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Spinach
  • Beans
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Peanuts
  • Asparagus
  • Beets

Additionally, folic acid can also be found in numerous fortified breads and grains, so you can also get it through cereal or pasta. To make sure you are getting enough, check food labels to see how much you are getting in a single serving. It is an important vitamin, and you should take enough in your day-to-day life.