Minority ethnic populations in the United Kingdom
Oral health educators (OHEs) will give oral health education to patients from minority ethnic groups, which is becoming an increasingly larger target group.
The 2011 Census  for England and Wales recorded that 9.5% of the population was made up of black and minority ethnic groups compared to 7.85% in the 2001 census . Older members of this population (particularly Caribbean) may have migrated here in the 1950s, but an increasingly large proportion is born in the United Kingdom.
It is therefore important to have some knowledge of the ideas and beliefs commonly encountered in people from these groups and to break down any barriers, such as language, that may exist.
BARRIERS TO DENTAL TREATMENT
Whilst it would be wrong to generalise, health and community personnel who work with minority ethnic groups are aware that the uptake of dental treatment in this section of the population is often below the national average.
There are a number of reasons for this, including:
- Older generations – may have never seen a dentist and may not see the need to take their children, or commonly only attend when they have a problem as they would in their country of birth.
- Bad experiences in country of origin – may have caused distress and so reluctant to visit the dentist.
- Conflicting views in the family – concerning the importance of oral health.
- Lack of awareness of services and facilities.
- Communication/language barrier.
Breaking down the barriers
The OHE has a un/>