Check with your local college or business school to see if they have a dental hygienist program. They usually offer low cost teeth cleaning and other services. It is done by students, but everything is checked by an instructor. So you get a good cleaning, although it may take a little longer.
I brush with baking soda (bi-carb soda for Australians) and then toothpaste. The baking soda is the secret and you don't need professional cleaning after using it.
Baking soda works well for me;I brush with it three or four times a week. I also gargle with hydrogen peroxide occasionally. This makes the mouth feel quite clean. I would not overdo it, given the admonitions that appear elsewhere in this feed back.
For sore gums, I have found that white oak bark works well. I found it at an herb store and it is just what is says it is. When ground up - use a blender. It resembles instant tea in texture. Place a pinch between your lower gum and the backside of your lower lip. Use your tongue to move it around your mouth.
But be forewarned - it is bitter! It should dissolve into a thin, particulate liquid. Swish it around in your mouth for as long as you can stand it. The bark has naturally occurring antiseptics that help protect the tree. I have had to use it only a couple to stop soreness. It is not something you would want to do every day but it gets the job done.
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