A Guide for Developing and Enhancing Community Oral Health Programs  
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Step 2. Assess Needs and Resources

B. Conduct the Assessment

Since the focus of the assessment is the community’s oral health needs and resources, it is important to obtain as complete and in-depth a picture of the community as possible.

1. Understand the Community

Understanding the community is instrumental in designing oral health programs that work for the community and resonate with its residents; this is central to good program planning and implementation.

It is particularly important to be aware of populations in the community at high risk for oral disease. Children; individuals with low incomes; and racial, cultural, and linguistic minorities often experience high rates of untreated oral disease and lack of access to oral health care. For example,

  • The rate of untreated oral disease among children ages 2 to 5 from families with low incomes is almost five times that of children from families with higher incomes.7
  • Dental sealants are more than four times more prevalent among white 14-year-olds than among their African-American counterparts.8
  • The rate of untreated oral disease among American Indian and Alaska Native children ages 2 to 4 is six times that of white children in this age group.3
  • Oral cancer mortality is twice as high among African-American males as among white males.9
  • The rate of unmet oral health needs is four times as high among individuals without health insurance as among those with private insurance.10
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Table of Contents Appendices AACDP References Home Appendices References Conclusion Step 6 Step 5 Step 4 Step 3 Step 2 Executive Summary Overview Step 1 Acknowledgements