In low income countries there are many reasons for lack of treatment such as few resources, rural communities, and insufficient trained staff. Poverty leads to malnutrition, overcrowded living conditions, lack of sanitation and contaminated water, creating an environment for infectious diseases. This is critical since general health affects oral health, and oral health affects general health. Globally, the main oral problem is dental caries and periodontal diseases, although there are other conditions, which can be prevented and controlled through action by individuals, communities, and professionals.
When working with a community it is important to ensure that you are aware of any national and regional health policies that are already in place. Are there any factors that you can influence regarding the promotion of good health, oral health and the prevention of disease? When you provide treatment it needs to be effective, appropriate, safe and sustainable. For both prevention/promotion and treatment it is important to communicate and cooperate with healthcare teams, and integrate as much as possible through other groups such as schools, community leaders, local government, and the wider community. Factors that may influence the provision of care include the availability of resources and services and the nature of the working environment e.g. rural/urban. It is important to understand any aspects of health and well-being that are particular to each community and it is vital to be sensitive to the living conditions that people find themselves in so you can give particular attention to those who are marginalised.
The profile of each local population is significant because different oral conditions are more common in people with specific characteristics, such as age, gender, ethnicity/genetics. The young and the elderly tend to be high risk groups, although there are some oral conditions that affect middle-aged people. Men and women can have different lifestyles that affect their oral health and these lifestyles can change over time. Some specific oral conditions tend to be associated with particular ethnicities and genetic backgrounds while some conditions can more commonly arise in certain groups: e.g. dislocated jaw in singers.