Risk Assessment: Identifying Social, Cultural, and Economic Factors

There are specific dental habits that can be incorporated through enculturation and social norms. For example, in some cultures, allowing an infant to fall asleep while sucking on sugared liquids is not only acceptable, but encouraged. In some social groupings, edentulism (tooth loss) is thought of as the natural progression in the aging process, and toothaches are normal. A patient living in poverty may not have access to dental care or toothpaste and other oral healthcare aids. These types of habits, practices, and situations need to be identified, acknowledged, and modified if possible.2