Should ethnography be a central part of a dental health promotion program? It may not automatically seem so to dentists and other health professionals. The public may think that designing a dental health promotion program is simple: just tell people to brush their teeth, limit the use of the baby bottle, eat fewer sweets, and go to the dentist at least once a year for a dental cleaning and check-up. However, educating people about such things becomes difficult when toothpaste is considered a luxury, transportation is inaccessible, water is a few hours walk or comes only a few hours a day, people use idiomatic terms to describe a toothache, and food is a limited resource.

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