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Glob Health Promot. 2012 Mar;19(1):60-3. doi: 10.1177/1757975911429872.

Reflections on cultural diversity in oral health promotion and prevention.

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University of Melbourne, Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program, the McCaughey Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Dental caries is an extremely debilitating disease with lifelong consequences. In most developed countries significant oral health inequalities exist in disadvantaged communities, including refugee and migrant populations. Addressing these inequalities is becoming increasingly challenging as communities become more culturally diverse. An awareness of traditional oral health practices would enable the dental and broader health professions, to understand these differences and consequently better meet the needs of disadvantaged communities. The use of miswak is a common traditional oral hygiene practice used by a number of culturally diverse groups. Further research is required into the use and effectiveness of traditional oral health practices within developed countries. Such practices need to be understood, respected and incorporated within oral health care, policies and practices in order to reduce significant inequalities experienced in our communities. This commentary describes the current literature on miswak, its effectiveness and the implications for promoting oral health.


health promotion; oral health; vulnerable people

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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