Cultural Barriers To Dental Care

To increase access to dental care, it is important to understand the various cultural factors that influence an individual's decision-making process.
Bella Ward
7 min to read

With the advances in dental care, it is hard to understand why some people do not seek routine dental care. Unfortunately, many cultural barriers prevent individuals from seeking dental care.

A man is a social animal. That's why his physical, biological, and social circumstances affect him. Culture affects an individual's social surroundings as well. It is difficult to describe the concept of "culture." Every culture has customs that may significantly influence physical and mental health. Culture is made up of values, attitudes, habits, and practices.

Concerning dental care, culture includes a person's dietary habits, cleaning rituals, and beliefs about oral hygiene. Culture can also affect a person's decision to visit the dentist. Some cultural groups do not prioritize dental care because they consider it a low priority compared to other health concerns. Others may not have access to dental care due to financial or geographical barriers.

Cultural barriers can prevent people from seeking routine dental care and lead to poorer oral health. It is important to be aware of these barriers so that we can help those in need of dental care get the treatment they deserve.

The Effect Of Culture On Dental Care

The culture organizes the group's norms concerning family life, birth, child-rearing, aging, and death, as well as their knowledge of sickness and care-seeking actions relating to dental health or medical difficulties. These behaviors and attitudes can assist or hinder someone receiving medical or dental care. Cultural factors may greatly influence a person's health and those they care for, such as kids and the elderly.

Cultural Barriers To Dental Care

A barrier to healthcare is any hindrance that limits or prevents someone from receiving effective medical treatment, including dental care. In many cases, many barriers to care may exist. The following factors commonly impede dental care:

·       Religion, race, or ethnicity

·       Familial or parental influence

·       Dietary Habits

·       Familial or parental influence

·       Oral hygiene practices

·       Socio-economic status

·       Cultural habits like chewing tobacco

These factors impact oral health and the start, course, and prognosis of various oral health outcomes and illnesses. Also, they're the reason for limiting access to oral health care providers and the health care delivery system. Below we are discussing some oral health beliefs in detail.

Religion, Race, Or Ethnicity

According to various studies, religious children and adults have superior oral health. Religion-practicing families had a lower incidence of tooth decay.

According to the World Health: Organization, cultural factors increase the risk of poor dental health. That includes insufficient fluoride exposure, living in a developing or underdeveloped country; having inadequate access to quality dental care; adopting unhealthy eating habits; having poor oral hygiene; smoking, and abusing alcohol excessively.

According to many oral health and ethnicity assessments, when we talk about how ethnicity influences dental care, people from black and minority ethnic groups have greater dental caries than the general population. The oral health status is also related to patients' health beliefs regarding dental services.

Dietary Habits

Although other studies have not substantiated this link, consuming foods high in fermentable carbohydrates, such as sweets and ice cream, may increase your risk of dental caries.

Diet and nutrition, as well as oral health, are inextricably linked. Diet and nutrition affect the health of oral tissues, which in turn affects the nutrients absorbed. Sugar consumption has been related to an increased risk of dental caries.

Familial Or Parental Influence

Parents of children with good oral hygiene practices had a greater chance of high-level employment and good oral health-related behaviors. Children's oral health-related behavior appears connected to parents' and children's knowledge of oral health concerns. Parents may help their children avoid tooth decay by instilling good dental habits early. Teach your children to floss regularly and use fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily. Get enough fluoride. Fluoride therapy fortifies the enamel, increasing its resistance to acid penetration. Certain foods should be avoided or limited.

Oral Hygiene Practices

Proper oral hygiene improves a person's dental health and general wellness. Poor oral hygiene is connected to dental cavities, gingivitis, periodontal illnesses, bad breath, respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic kidney diseases. Bacteria are frequently controlled by the body's natural defenses and appropriate oral hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing regularly. However, without proper dental hygiene, bacteria can accumulate to the point where they cause oral ailments such as tooth decay and gum disease.

Socio-Economic Status

According to various studies, people with low socioeconomic status are less likely to visit a dentist for a checkup. According to the current poll, 69 (21.15%) of patients with an average monthly income visit dental clinics every three months, and 258 (78.9%) visit at least once every six months.

Previous studies have found a negative association between socioeconomic level and dental health and sickness, implying that the higher one's socioeconomic position, the better one's perception of oral health and the less one suffers from clinically recognized dental disorders. According to studies, children from low-income households are less likely to receive dental care and are more likely to have unmet dental needs than children from higher-income families.

Cultural Habits Like Chewing Tobacco

The sharp abrasives in tobacco products cause tooth wear or abrasion when chewed frequently. Chewing tobacco also creates more dental cavities, which leads to tooth loss. In severe cases, it might cause your teeth to fall out. Smoking is a major cause of severe gum disease in the United States. The first indication of gum disease is bacteria (germs) on your teeth that penetrate your gums. If microorganisms remain on your teeth for a lengthy period, plaque (a film) and tartar (hardened plaque) layers grow.

In addition to high cost, lack of insurance, and treatment availability, aspects of cultural attitudes and behaviors are commonly cited as additional deterrents in studies on poor dental health outcomes.


Cultural beliefs play a significant role in determining whether or not individuals seek out dental care. To increase access to dental care, it is important to understand the various cultural factors that influence an individual's decision-making process. Additionally, outreach and education efforts should be tailored to specific cultural groups to address these barriers effectively. By taking these steps, we can ensure that everyone has the opportunity to receive the high-quality dental care they deserve.

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