International approaches to Indigenous dental care: what can we learn?

Aust Dent J. 2014 Dec;59(4):439-45. doi: 10.1111/adj.12219. Epub 2014 Sep 27.


Indigenous populations around the world have significantly poorer oral health and inequalities in access to dental care largely attribute to the social determinants of health. Reviewing international literature offers an opportunity to better understand appropriate approaches for policy and practice in Australia. This article is a descriptive narrative review based on primary research literature discussing informative international approaches to Indigenous dental care. Approaches identified in the literature included integration of dentistry with primary health care and traditional practice, training and use of oral health professionals and approaches used at different stages of life, particularly in the management of early childhood caries. The international literature provides a range of approaches to Indigenous oral health. Tailored, culturally appropriate family and community based initiatives that address the multidisciplinary issues confronting Indigenous communities were most highly regarded.

Keywords: Indigenous; approaches to care; dental care; international; review; volunteers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Dental Care / organization & administration*
  • Dental Care / standards
  • Dental Caries
  • Global Health
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Services, Indigenous*
  • Humans
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander*
  • Oral Health / ethnology
  • Socioeconomic Factors