What Makes a Healthy Mouth?
We considered two major factors for a healthy mouth: the number of teeth you have and if you have dry mouth. “If you have nice, healthy teeth, your risk for heart disease is relatively low,” says Roach. “If you’ve lost more than a few teeth, your risk for heart disease is sky high.” That’s because gaps left by missing teeth allow bacteria in to create inflammation around the mouth, which causes endovascular disease. Diabetes, gum disease, smoking, a high body mass index and even late-night snacking are all factors that can cost you your teeth.
A dry mouth -- which can be caused by medical illness, smoking and some medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants and antidepressants -- is also detrimental to oral health. “You need to have saliva in order for your periodontal membrane and gums to stay healthy and make a good barrier to protect against bacteria,” says Roach. Severe dry mouth can cause as many health problems as losing your teeth.