Keep your mouth healthy with folic acid
SUMMARY: Folic acid is an important part of our diets, and it can play a major role in keeping the mouth in top condition.
Posted: August 6, 2013
We do a lot to try and keep our teeth and gums healthy, but it usually starts and stops in the bathroom. To make sure that your oral health stays in peak condition, try to add folic acid into your diet regularly. As a part of the B-vitamin family, which is often praised for its health benefits, folic acid plays a major role in cell repair and growth. Additionally, it can safeguard the mouth against diseases. Folic acid, or folate, is an essential vitamin to make red blood cells and regulate cell metabolism.
Your gums are there to support your teeth, but some people tend to overlook the importance of keeping the gums healthy. Several studies have found that folic acid plays a major role in preserving gum tissues and preventing gingivitis and periodontal disease. Folic acid can reduce inflammation in the gums and make them more resilient to dental plaque and anaerobic bacteria, two of the main culprits in tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. Folic acid helps to cut down on bleeding gums, which is one of the most common signs of gum disease.
If you've ever had canker sores, you know how uncomfortable and irritating they can be. While they aren't harmful and tend to go away on their own, canker sores can make it hard to eat, drink or even talk. Doctors are unsure of what exactly causes canker sores, but there are several things that can make these annoying ulcers pop up. One of those things is the lack of folic acid in your diet, because folic acid helps the gum tissue to repair itself.
Now you know how folic acid can affect your oral health, you may be wondering: How can I increase my folic acid intake without taking vitamins? The daily recommended intake of folic acid is 400 micrograms per day, but since it is water soluble, any additional vitamins you consume will just be flushed out of your system. Try to fill up on these folic acid-rich foods to improve your oral health:
Leafy vegetables: Dark leafy greens hold a plethora of essential vitamins and minerals for a well-balanced diet. Powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients keep your body working in peak condition as well as your teeth and gums. Unfortunately, cooking can decrease the amount of folic acid within a vegetable, so it's important to get as much raw leafy greens as possible. Get your fill of spinach, kale, asparagus, broccoli, beets and mustard greens by tossing everything together in a salad. You won't even need dressing or extra flavors because these rich greens are jam-packed with taste-bud pleasing flavor. These veggies will also help to prevent a buildup of dental plaque.
Citrus: Citrus and fortified fruit juices are a great source of folic acid, but the acidity of these items can be rough for people with sensitive teeth and gums. A medium-sized orange will give you about 20 percent of your folic acid intake for the day, but you can also opt for fruit juices. Just make sure to check the label to make sure it is fortified with extra folate.
Beans and legumes: Beans and legumes should be a part of every balanced diet, as they are rich in potassium, calcium and protein, and contain little fat. Although it's best not to cook raw foods to keep in the nutrients, this food group tends to be very hard and inedible, and therefore requires cooking. Try to boil or steam veggies to keep as much of the nutritional value in it as possible.