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Dr. Fitch shares some articles, thoughts and tips about dental health. Please e-mail us at if you have any questions about these topics.

ADA Discovers Adults do value their Oral Health – but don’t see a Dentist. Find out why!

  The ADA recently released a new survey which focused on dental care and how it affects the life of patients in ways that have not been measured before. The survey included about 15,000 adult patients across the US, and results showed that nearly all (97%) percent of adults surveyed valued their oral health; however 63% of them had not visited the dentist in at least a year.  The number one reason cited was cost, and fear of the dentist was the second most common reason.  Low-income adults were 10 times more likely to rate the overall condition of their mouth as poor. The survey also found that poor oral health dramatically impacts the quality of life for many adults.  Many patients responded that the appearance of their mouth and teeth affected their ability to interview for a job.  Many patients also experienced embarrassment, avoided smiling, reduced participation in social events, experienced difficulty in chewing, problems sleeping and experienced pain. Other key findings include:
  • Across all income levels, nearly 30 percent said life is “very often” or “occasionally” less satisfying because of the condition of their mouth or teeth.
  • One in four adults said they avoid smiling because of the condition of their mouth or teeth.
  • One in five adults experiences anxiety over the condition of their mouth and teeth.
For the complete ADA report published June 8, 2016 click on this link:

Comment by Broad St Smiles:  Dr. Fitch & the entire staff at Broad St Smiles always strive to relieve your fears about dentistry.  Our patient’s comfort is our priority.  Our office is new, comfortable and relaxing.  The staff is very warm and welcoming and eager to answer your questions.  Dr. Fitch is licensed to provide oral conscious sedation which is very effective in reducing anxiety and discomfort during dental procedures.  See how different dental care is at Broad St Smiles!

Dental Implants can make a big difference!

Dental implants can improve a patient’s quality of life. That’s the news from McGill University in Montreal, and Dr. Jocelyne S. Feine, professor of dentistry. Dr. Feine recently studied patients who had undergone the procedure, its health benefits and costs. “Their reactions are phenomenal” Dr. Feine told The Hartford Courant last month. Patients with dental implants eat better and seem to be healthier and enjoy life more than those who have dentures. “It makes such a difference in their lives” said Dr. Feine. Dental implants are titanium screws that are surgically inserted in the jaw to provide secure support for dental crowns. Implants can be artificial teeth that look natural and feel secure, or they can be used to attach full or partial dentures. Dentists caution that implants aren’t for everyone. You might be a candidate if you’re in good health, have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant, and if you’re committed to meticulous oral hygiene and regular dental visits. A thorough evaluation by your dentist will help determine if you are a good candidate. Even if you currently have inadequate bone for an implant, you may become a candidate after receiving a bone graft. To read more about the benefits of grafts please click here: link Implant surgery can be done under a local or general anesthetic and/or with conscious sedation. Usually pain medications and, if necessary, antibiotics are prescribed. To find out if you’re a good candidate, talk to your dentist. Click here to view archived ADA articles.

Gum Disease may be Treatable with Bioceramic Material

I know this sounds boring but it is actually very interesting!!! Gum disease is a major cause of bone and tooth loss, and can also raise the risk of heart attack or stroke. Recent research has revealed that silicon nitride – a ceramic material used in spinal implants could lead to effective new types of gum disease treatment. How? After just 6 days of exposure – the chemical reactions of the ceramic materials with the bacterial cells found in gum disease (P.gingivalis cells) degraded the nucleic acids in the bacterial cells and reduced their ability to produce essential proteins and fats. Current treatment options include deep cleaning – such as scaling and root planning to remove the built-up plaque that harbors the bacteria, surgery and antibiotics. Researchers conclude that while further studies are needed, their finding show silicon nitride offers a new and promising way to treat gum disease. Link to full article:

Oral Bacteria Linked to Risk of Stroke

Brain researchers demonstrate the importance of oral health in stroke. In a study of patients who have gone to the hospital for an intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), it has been discovered that 26 percent were found to have specific oral bacterium in their saliva, cnm-positive Streptococcus mutans. The researchers also evaluated MRI’s of study subjects for the presence of cerebral microbleeds (small brain hemorrhages which may cause dementia and often underlie ICH) and found that the number of cerebral microbleeds was significantly higher in subjects with this bacteria. The authors hypothesize that the bacteria may bind to blood vessels weakened by age and high blood pressure, causing arterial ruptures in the brain, leading to small or large hemorrhages. Co-author Friedland, M.D. sates that “this study shows that oral health is important for brain health”. For the full article, visit

Bone Loss may tip off doctors to gum disease in postmenopausal women.

Bone Loss may tip off doctors to gum disease in postmenopausal women Postmenopausal women who are susceptible to bone fractures may also be at a higher risk for gum disease. Researchers found a link between women after menopause with a high score on a Fracture Assessment Risk tool (FRAX) and symptoms of severe gum disease. Women can have a huge increase in bone loss in the first decade after the onset of menopause as estrogen level drop. Lower estrogen also impacts the mouth and causes inflammatory changes that can lead to gingivitis, a precursor to periodontal disease (gum disease). When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to “periodontitis” (inflammation around the tooth). The gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that become infected. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed. For more information on the research done by Case Western reserve University School of the Dental medicine and Case/Cleveland clinic Postmenopausal Health collaboration )(CCCPOHC) see the full article at

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sleep Apnea may be more common than you think.

The signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas overlap, sometimes making the type of sleep apnea more difficult to determine. The most common signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas include:sleep-symptoms
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Loud snoring, which is usually more prominent in obstructive sleep apnea
  • Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep witnessed by another person
  • Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath, which more likely indicates central sleep apnea
  • Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Attention problems


Dealing with TMJ Disorder

Your treatment options for TMD (TMJ)

By WebMD Feature
Temporomandibular disorders are a group of problems that cause pain and poor function in the jaw joint and the muscles responsible for jaw movement. They’re also called TMD, or TMJ (short for temporomandibular joint) disorders.

When symptoms of TMD surface, they might include:

  • Pain in the chewing muscles or jaw joint
  • Pain in the jaw, neck, or face
  • Stiff jaw muscles
  • A jaw that locks or has limited movement
  • Painful clicking, popping, or grating in the jaw joint
  • Changes in the fit between upper and lower teeth

TMD may affect more than 10 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health. Women are affected more often than men.readmore

Learn more about Invisalign.

Screen shot 2014-05-24 at 4.36.38 PMStraighter teeth, better health.

Periodontal Disease: If you have been diagnosed with periodontal (gum) disease, you’re not alone. An estimated 80 percent of American adults currently have some form of gum disease, ranging from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth. Not only is gum disease a threat to your oral health that can lead to tooth loss, but research also points to health effects of periodontal disease that go well beyond your mouth.

The Correlation Between Misaligned Teeth and Periodontal Disease

Did you know that a major cause of periodontal disease is poorly-aligned teeth? This is because the bacteria living in the gums around crowded teeth are much more toxic and destructive than the normal bacteria found in healthy mouths! In fact, the misalignment that leads to periodontal disease continues to remain one of the most overlooked risk factors by the General Practitioners office.Research has shown that mouth infections and inflammation caused by periodontal disease can play havoc throughout the body. There is a proven association between periodontal disease and other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as:

Diabetes People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than people without diabetes, probably because diabetics are more susceptible to contracting infections. In fact, periodontal disease is often considered the sixth complication of diabetes. Those people who don’t have their diabetes under control are especially at risk.

Stroke Additional studies have pointed to a relationship between periodontal disease and stroke. In one study that looked at the causal relationship of oral infection as a risk factor for stroke, people diagnosed with acute cerebrovascular ischemia were found more likely to have an oral infection when compared to those in the control group. Respiratory Infections Bacteria in your mouth can be aspirated into the lungs to cause respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, especially in people with gum disease.

Severe Osteopenia Osteoporosis may lead to tooth loss because the density of the bone supporting the teeth may be decreased.

Pre-term or Low Birthweight Babies Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small. Treatment is Key.

If your teeth are misaligned, it could be more than a cosmetic issue. Undergoing orthodontic treatment to straighten your teeth may be a critical part of ensuring your overall health. Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment option that allows doctors to straighten teeth using a series of clear, removable, nearly invisible, plastic appliances called aligners. Since Invisalign is removable, you can brush and floss normally, which helps prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay. In fact, clinical studies have shown that gingival health may improve with the use of Invisalign during orthodontic treatment.2

Straighter teeth are Healthier Teeth:

Properly positioned teeth are easier to brush and floss than teeth that are crowded, crooked, or spaced too far apart. Properly aligned teeth can help gums “fit” tighter around them, which may lead to better periodontal health.With maintenance of good oral hygiene, the chances of having plaque retention, tooth decay, and periodontal disease can be reduced. If your teeth are misaligned, Invisalign should be considered to straighten your teeth and help prevent periodontal disease-all without the hassle of brackets and wires. Straighten your teeth and protect your health with Invisalign!

A Case of “Use It or Lose It!”

UseItorLoseitMany consumers with dental insurance don’t realize that their plans provide a certain amount of coverage annually. If you don’t use that money, it can’t be carried over to next year and is lost to you forever. Don’t forgo the necessary or preventive dental care when you have already paid for the dental insurance to have it done. Dental insurance companies count on making millions of dollars off of patients who never use their insurance benefits because, unbeknownst to the consumer, many of these plans provide coverage up to a certain dollar amount annually. Many dental insurance plans are just sitting there with benefits unused and go to waste as soon as the clock strikes midnight December 31. In addition, now is the time to get your dental treatment before your deductible resets. Your deductible also starts again January 1. Many dental insurances provide little to no coverage until you spend a certain amount out of your own pocket – your annual deductible. If you’ve used your insurance at all this year, you’ve probably made some progress towards meeting that deductible. In fact, you may have already met it completely. Another good reason to take care of dental work now is to spend any remaining balance in your flexible spending account (FSA). This is an account that you establish through your employer, and that you may have elected to have some of your pre-tax pay put into. If you don’t use all of your FSA contributions by the end of the year, you lose them. So, before the holiday season starts to fill up your calendar give us a call at Broad Street Smiles and we can help you figure out how much money is left in your dental plan and help you make the most of your benefits!

Don’t Let Your Teeth Flunk College!

GradCollege life is challenging. Baggy-eyed, you gulp down a soda on your way to that 7 A.M. class and a bag of chips when you cram late at night for a midterm. On-the-run choices, stress and hit-and-miss oral care can cause your to weaken and decay. Studies show that college students have a high incidence of tooth decay caused by acid erosion. Sodas, sports and energy drinks, designer coffees laden with sugary delights, chips, candies, or any high carbohydrate or starchy food like pasta or bread provides the source for the acid that erodes and destroys teeth. Acids and sugar pull minerals from tooth enamel. Enamel-building takes place only when you were a child and your teeth were forming. Without those protective minerals, your teeth are targeted by decay-causing bacteria. Give yourself and “A” for adopting these tips:
  • Cut back on the amount of sodas and other acidic beverages you. Frequently substitute less acidic beverages, and include water in your beverage selection.
  • Eat healthy snacks when you hit those cram sessions.
  • Eat sweets along with healthy, nutritional foods.
  • After eating sweets or other acid-producing foods, chew gum that contains, a natural sugar that prevents tooth decay.
  • It takes only a short time to brush and floss-twice daily. Use that contains a remineralization ingredient and fluoride.
  • Lastly, even though you might be far from home, see a dentist regularly!
Your teeth are counting on you to help them to smile beautifully during Graduation!
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