Your total health and wellness starts with a healthy mouth.  And while the general public now understands that there is some sort of health link between mouth and body, you all deserve to understand the importance of this mouth – body connection.

In the last five years, hundreds of new studies have improved our knowledge of this health connection.  And these are not basic studies.  Dr. Susan Estep Intown Smile Studio ATLThese studies are evidence-based medical studies whose results are published in peer-reviewed journals.  Ten years ago, these studies were mainly published in dental journals, but not anymore.  Now that the medical profession is understanding the importance the oral-systemic link, dozens of medical-specialty journals are publishing studies related to the importance of a healthy mouth for your total health and wellbeing.  Click here to make you and your family healthier by scheduling your first visit with us.

I, Dr. Susan Estep, have been practicing Total Wellness Dentistry in Atlanta, and now Midtown, for the last decade.  And when it came time for me to sit down and write about it, even I was amazed.  Ten years ago, we dentists mostly talked about the oral systemic link and how it related to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Now the connection seems to relate to every system in the body. We can start with the developments in cardiovascular disease and diabetes and go from there.

Cardiovascular Disease

Dr. Susan Estep- Intown Smile Studio- Atl

We now know that if you have any kind of gum disease (even gingivitis…even if your gums bleed a little when you floss or brush and there’s a little pink in the sink…and even if your gums bleed a little when you’re having your teeth professionally cleaned), your risk for having a heart attack and stroke is increased.  We now know the mechanisms of how the infection and inflammation in your deep gum pockets travel into your bloodstream and wreak havoc on your arteries.  We also know that if you have a tooth that has an infection or an abscess, the bacteria in that infection can trigger a heart attack or stroke!  By simply knowing this, I believe, increases my responsibility to you, my patient.  Click here to make you and your family healthier by scheduling your first visit with us.


Dr. Susan Estep Intown Smile Studio ATL

What’s new in diabetes?  Since the 1960s, medical doctors have understood that diabetics usually end up with horrible gum disease.  In recent years, we realize that having gum disease and allowing it to go untreated can lead to insulin resistance and ultimately lead you to develop diabetes.  If you’re already diabetic, we know that having gum disease makes it impossible for you to control your blood sugar levels.  And, since 95% of diabetics have gum disease, it’s extremely important to my team and me that we find a treatment solution that will help diabetics live a longer, healthier life.  Periodontal disease can be detrimental to diabetics (even life-shortening).  Simply knowing this, we believe, increases our responsibility to our diabetic patients.  Click here to make you and your family healthier by scheduling your first visit with us.

Alzheimer’s Disease

dr susan estep

Now let’s move on to Alzheimer’s Disease.  There is a certain connection between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease.  Oral pathogens (bad bacteria) are commonly found in the brain (in the Alzheimer’s plaques) of Alzheimer’s patients.  We’re not sure (yet) why.  One idea is that as Alzheimer’s Disease progresses, the chronic systemic inflammation found in the body results in the breakdown of the blood brain barrier allowing it to become leaky.  And, the oral bacteria get into the brain that way.  The other thought is that many of the oral bacteria involved have the ability to invade through and bore through soft-tissue membranes.  And, these bacteria could lead the way in developing Alzheimer’s.  Either way, these infective oral pathogens, left untreated,  do cause chronic systemic inflammation…and then the argument might be more like the “chicken or the egg.”  If I notice that your family history includes Alzheimer’s Disease, I want to make certain that your mouth is healthy and pay close attention that it is free from these specific bacteria (using a simple saliva test).  Click here to make you and your family healthier by scheduling your first visit with us.


If you are my patient and you’re pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or having trouble getting pregnant,  I need you to know about the bacteria Fn (F. nucleatum), because it is a gum disease pathogen that can travel across your uterus and the placental barrier and infect your womb.  Studies suggest Fn may be associated with infertility, premature birth, miscarriage, and even stillbirth.  With a simple saliva test, we can find out if Fn is in your mouth, and with non-invasive treatment, we can eliminate Fn.  Click here to make you and your family healthier by scheduling your first visit with us.


Pancreatic Cancer:

There are 2 known oral pathogens that more than double your risk for pancreatic cancer.  We offer a simple saliva test that looks for these and other oral pathogens.  If your mouth is infected, we offer preventive and progressive treatment to eliminate the oral pathogens.  Gum disease significantly increases your risk for having pancreatic cancer.

Colorectal, Lung, Kidney, & White Blood Cell Cancer:

Gum disease significantly increases your risk for developing these cancers.  It’s quite possible that the oral pathogens present in gum disease somehow turn the cancer genes “on.”

Oral Cancer:

The fastest growing segment of the oropharyngeal cancer population is HEALTHY NON-SMOKERS ages 25-50.  Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is to blame (just as it is to blame for cervical cancer).  At Intown Smile Studio we use a simple saliva test to check for HPV, and we do a “flashlight” oral cancer screening called OralID, that has very early detection capability, once per year.


More connections involve depression, artificial joint and valve infection, arthritis, eczema, endometriosis, lupus, Sjogren’s, acid reflux, heartburn, and dry-mouth associated with taking medications.  The list may seem endless, but thanks to dedicated healthcare providers, patients suffering from these disorders now have more hope than ever before.  Click here to make you and your family healthier by scheduling your first visit with us.

The scary thing is that you can have gum disease, a gum infection, deep gum pockets, a tooth infection…even a tooth abscess and feel NOTHING.  These kinds of infections usually go unnoticed by most people.  What’s scarier?  Most dentists still think it’s normal for your gums to bleed when you floss and when your hygienist cleans your teeth.  Remember, this is pretty recent science and information, and most dentists have become aware of the connection but don’t really know how to talk to patients about it or how to implement technology to address it.  It’s a lot to learn.  Dentists have to be brave enough to enter a world where, at first, we know very little.  We must open our minds to understand how this science affects our profession.  The first time I realized this serious health connection, I was scared.  How would I implement this in my practice with my patients?  What if I didn’t know all of the medical answers to the questions that will inevitably arise?  But, even though I was scared, I took this science seriously.  I believe that it elevates my responsibility in my everyday care for my patients.  And, every time my team and I tune in together to learn more new science about Total Wellness Dentistry, we all feel our responsibility elevate even further.  Click here to make you and your family healthier by scheduling your first visit with us.


Good News for YOU!

Our educated, skilled team studies this stuff like crazy.  We are dental nerds…which means we are your Oral Systemic Link, Total Wellness bodyguards!  We pay attention to this stuff for you to protect you.  We believe that you are healthier BECAUSE you’re an Intown Smile Studio patient.  Click here to make you and your family healthier by scheduling your first visit with us.  You can only benefit from Intown Smile Studio’s Total Wellness Dentistry Team.