Folic Acid, the synthetic version of the vitamin B9, is incredibly important when it comes to cell growth, cell repair, and disease prevention in oral care. Folic acid is water soluble vitamin and is not stored in the body for a long time and should be taken daily to maintain oral health.
It is particularly important for pregnant women to take 400 micrograms of the vitamin per day to reduce the risk of craniofacial defects such as a cleft lip or cleft palate. While there is no definitive evidence, researchers have found a strong correlation between a lack of folic acid in pregnant women and craniofacial defects. Children born with a cleft lip or palate often require surgery, dental work, and in some cases speech therapy.
Another use for folic acid in dental health is to prevent the onset of gum disease. A recent study released by the CDC states that about half of Americans over the age of 20 suffer from mild to severe gum disease. Gum disease is combated by regular brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist.
Eating foods that contain folate in combination with Vitamin C will help the cells in the mouth repair gum disease before it progresses. Based on your oral health condition a dentist may recommend you use a folic acid mouthwash or toothpaste.
Often times a poor diet is the reason many people do not receive enough folic acid. Many grain foods are fortified with folic acid including bread, pasta, and cereal. When you are out shopping for these items make sure to check the label to see how much of your daily value of folates you are receiving per serving.
Even more effective than eating food fortified with folic acid is to seek out food where folates occur naturally. A good rule of thumb when looking for naturally occurring folic acid is to look for green vegetables. Romaine lettuce, spinach, asparagus, and peas are all excellent sources of folic acid.