Our Blog

Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April 1st, 2020

Happy Oral Cancer Awareness Month! We know oral cancer can be kind of a scary topic, but it’s worth using this opportunity to learn about the disease and spread knowledge so everyone becomes more aware. The more we know, the better we can work to prevent it!

Oral cancer is exactly what it sounds like: cancer that occurs anywhere in the mouth. It could occur on the tongue, the lips, the gums, the tongue, inside the cheek, or in the roof or floor of the mouth. Every  year, more than 8,000 people die from oral cancer. It’s a truly deadly disease.

The reason oral cancer scores a higher death rate than other common cancers such as testicular cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, thyroid cancer, cervical cancer, or even skin cancer, is because it often goes undetected until it's become too advanced and has spread to another part of the body.

So what causes this devastating disease? There is no clear answer, but some potential causes have been identified. By being aware of these, we can be alert and promote prevention of this illness:

  • Age: Most patients who develop oral cancer are above the age of 40. If you’re over 40, make sure your doctor checks for signs of oral cancer and that you stay on your dental hygiene regimen.
  • Tobacco: Excessive tobacco use, whether in the form of cigarette smoking or tobacco chewing, can be a substantial contributor and cause of oral cancer. So that’s another reason, among many, you should avoid tobacco.
  • Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption can put you at risk because alcohol converts into a chemical called acetaldehyde, which damages the body’s DNA and blocks cells from repairing the damage. When paired with tobacco, the dehydrating effects of alcohol make it even easier for tobacco to infiltrate mouth tissue.
  • Sun exposure: Your lips need SPF, too! Repeated sun exposure increases your risk of contracting cancer on your lips, especially the lower lip.
  • Diet: Not getting all the nutrients you need, from vegetables and fruits for instance, can weaken your immune system and make you more vulnerable to the disease.

Obviously, many of these causes relate to lifestyle choices, which we have control over. It's all about balance, being aware, and making small tweaks to our habits if we need to.

If you’re concerned that you may be at risk for oral cancer, give us a call to talk about a screening. And if you’ve been putting off a visit to our Grand Forks office, now is an excellent time to schedule one. Regular visits to the dentist can be the first line of defense against oral cancer!

Cleaning Your Teeth—Time for a Refresher Course!

March 24th, 2020

Let’s face it, by now, brushing our teeth is something we pretty much do on auto-pilot. A quick brush after breakfast, a minute or so at night, floss when we think of it. Done. But take a few minutes to review these cleaning tips, and see if a few small adjustments to your routine could make all the difference at your next checkup at our office.

  • Tools

Some of us prefer brushing with a manual brush. Some like the electric brush for ease and comfort. Whichever form of brush you choose, be sure that it fits comfortably in your mouth, reaches everywhere it needs to, and has a handle that is easy to grip. There are many bristle options available, so if you are an energetic brusher, or if you have sensitive gums, try a soft bristled brush for gentler brushing.

If you haven’t been exploring the floss aisle lately, there are now many varieties available to suit your particular needs. Besides the traditional floss, there are coated flosses for easy gliding between teeth that fit closely together, dental tape-style flosses to fit teeth with wider spacing, and even flosses designed just for braces that thread between the wires and brackets. Talk to us at your next cleaning for product suggestions if you think there’s an easier, more comfortable option out there for you.

  • Technique

With proper technique, any toothbrush and floss you choose will do a fine job of removing plaque.

Brushing? There’s a tried and true method for success. Place the toothbrush at a 45° angle at the gum line. Be sure to brush the outside, inside, and chewing surface of each tooth thoroughly. Remember the expression, “Massage, don’t scrub.” Over-vigorous brushing can actually irritate gum tissue and damage enamel. An electric toothbrush should provide a continuous brushing motion without needing any pressure from the brusher. This might be the model for you if you have a too-vigorous approach to brushing, or sensitive teeth and gums. If you like your manual brush, again, give a soft-bristled brush a try!

As for flossing? That harmless-looking little string can cause gum damage if used too forcefully. You can accomplish the placement and cleaning power you need by easing the floss down to the gumline and flossing with gentle pressure against the tooth surface. If you have any questions about technique, remember—we are always happy to let you know the best cleaning methods for your specific needs.

  • Timing

Of course, the best tools and the best technique in the world won’t be effective unless you put the right amount of time into brushing and flossing.

The standard rule is two minutes of brushing in the morning and two minutes at night. If you wear braces or have other special circumstances, we might recommend brushing after every meal. And if you brush after breakfast, give your teeth half an hour or so to remineralize. This natural process uses the calcium and phosphate ions in your saliva to strengthen tooth enamel after it’s been exposed to any acidic foods in your breakfast.

Thorough flossing can be accomplished in a few minutes, and might be needed only once a day. But again, depending on your individual needs, we might have other recommendations. Let’s review what works for you at your next visit—we can tailor suggestions for a brushing routine to your unique needs.

It’s a great idea to review your brushing habits periodically to make sure you are getting the most out of those minutes you spend cleaning your teeth. There won’t be a test at the end of this review, and you won’t get a gratifying grade or a gold star. What you will get is much more important—better checkups, fewer cavities, and healthy teeth and gums. Happy cleaning!

Happy March!

March 19th, 2020

Happy March from Amundson Dental Associates! Our team is looking forward to warmer days ahead and a little spring-time freshness both inside and outside. To celebrate spring, we brighten the front door of the office with colorful spring flowers. To celebrate spring away from the office, the team goes for long walks outside and eats lunch on the patio. There are so many ways to soak up the sunshine! Each member of our team is looking forward to hunting for Easter eggs with their children soon.

Cleansing spaces – both the office and our homes are another way to celebrate the season of renewal. Tackling a big spring-cleaning can be a little overwhelming at times but we just take it one room at a time and donate items that are no longer in use. One area Kim would like to focus on is organizing her closest!

Need a little mid-year oral care reminder? There are many great ways to care for your teeth and make sure your smile is healthy and happy. Our team recommends scheduling routine dental visits every 6 months and having adult fluoride treatments to protect existing fillings against cavities. Ask us for other tips and tricks the next time you visit us!

We hope everyone is staying safe and having a wonderful start to the spring season!

Your overall health is our top Priority!

March 16th, 2020

Dear Friends,

At Amundson Dental your health and safety have always been our top priority. Our office has always adhered to the most stringent protocols which meet and exceed OSHA guidelines for sterilization and disinfection. We have been extensively trained in infection control procedures for many years and attend continuing education annually to stay informed on OSHA and Center for Disease Control (CDC) changes.

However, we understand that there are growing concerns over Coronavirus (COVID-19), so we wanted to update our valued patients about the extra steps we are taking to protect you and our team. We know how important oral health is to you and your family, and want to ensure that we can provide the safest environment and continued care.

• Hand sanitizer is available through the office for
team and patients

• All patients are pre-screened during the
confirmation call upon entry to the office

• We have ample supply of all necessary protective
barriers, masks, and critical sterilization products

• All clinical spaces are disinfected after each
patient, all disposable barriers are changed, and as
always, the maximum number of single-use
products are being utilized for all procedures

• Additional nightly deep cleaning protocol for the
entire office

• All team has been asked not to report to work if
they are ill or have ill family members

• If you are not feeling well, please inform us and we
can assist you in rescheduling your appointment.
We will happily accommodate and reschedule

Recommendations for hygiene to ensure your own health and safety according to CDC guidelines:

• You will be asked about your recent travel and
well-being prior to entering our office

• Use hand sanitizer or thoroughly wash your hands
with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds,
upon arrival to our office

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and
dispose of the tissue properly

• We love handshakes and hugs, but at this time we
must only accept SMILES!

• Please do not use masks if unnecessary. Masks are
only required for healthcare providers and sick
individuals.

We look forward to being your smile team, even in this turbulent time. Toothaches, decay and even routine maintenance cannot always be put on hold. We are here for you and promise to keep you smiling and healthy!

Drs. Roger and Scott Amundson and team

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