The racial/ethnic composition of our nation is projected to change drastically in the coming decades. It is therefore important that the health professions improve their efforts to provide culturally competent care to all patients. We reviewed literature concerning health care disparities and workforce diversity issues--particularly within the oral health field--and provide a synthesis of recommendations to address these issues. This review is highly relevant to both the medical and public health professions, because they are facing similar disparity and workforce issues. In addition, the recent establishment of relationships between oral health and certain systemic health conditions will elevate oral health promotion and disease prevention as important points of intervention in the quest to improve our nation's public health.