Folic Acid during Pregnancy Could Prevent Cleft Palate and Lips
Posted on 5/20/2016 by Brandon Cooley
Physicians have long been preaching the importance of getting enough folic acid during pregnancy, as it can prevent neural tube defects and a variety of other problems.
For that reason, obstetricians recommend that all pregnant women take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid to prevent these issues, but research has now shown that folic acid could also prevent some oral problems, including cleft palates and lips.
Research Regarding Folic Acid and Oral Health
This most recent study found that women who use folic acid supplements during early pregnancy can substantially reduce their unborn child's chances of being born with a cleft palate or lip.
Sadly, about one out of every 750 babies are born with a cleft lip, cleft palate, or both. Cleft lips occur when at least one fissure develops in the upper lip, while a cleft palate is a deformity that results when the soft and hard palate don't fuse.
In the past, folic acid deficiency was shown to cause facial clefts in lab animals, so researchers had good reason to believe that the same findings may have been found in humans. Researchers examined the association between clefts and mother's folic acid supplement intake.
They found that when mothers took a supplement of 0.4 mg of folic acid or more, the risk of an isolated cleft lip and palate was reduced by about one-third. However, there was no major effect on the cleft palate risk alone.
Getting Enough Folic Acid
If you are concerned about getting enough folic acid, taking a supplement is your best option. However, many of the foods you eat every day can get you this B vitamin, including whole grains, beans, citrus fruits, and leafy greens. Flour and other fortified foods often have this vitamin added to it, as well.
If you are pregnant, make sure that you contact us today to have your dental health checked out.