Where There Is No Dentist 2012 185
• by gently cleaning any infection or sores with a clean cloth that
has been moistened with salt water.
• by gently wiping inside the mouth (teeth, gums, all the soft inside
skin) with a clean cloth.
Be careful if you use a chewing stick. Some wood is very hard and can
hurt and damage the gums. The soft wood from the neem tree (which
grows in many tropical countries) works well. You can also wrap clean
cloth around the pointed end of a small stick or tooth pick and use it to
carefully clean the teeth one at a time.
Other treatments that can help are:
• chlorhexidine gluconate, 0.2%—a mouth wash that has no
alcohol in it. Hold some in the mouth for 1 minute, 2 times a
day. Make sure it covers the whole mouth inside, and then
spit it out. This mouth wash reacts badly with some kinds of
toothpaste. So wait 30 minutes between using this mouth wash
and brushing your teeth.
• gentian violet, 0.5%—a purple-colored liquid that kills
germs. Paint it onto the parts of the mouth that are infected.
Sometimes it may be necessary to paint the whole inside of the
mouth. Try not to swallow any.
• povidone iodine, 1%—a brown-colored liquid that kills germs.
Hold some in the mouth for 1 minute, 2 times a day. Make sure
it covers the whole mouth inside, and then spit it out (do not
swallow any). Do not use for more than 14 days. Do not use if
you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
• hydrogen peroxide, 3% and clean water—(see page 8).
1 23 4
Mix hydrogen peroxide
evenly with water—that is
½ cup of hydrogen peroxide
with ½ cup of water.
in the mouth
Spit it out and
repeat. Do this
every hour when
awake for 3 days.