oral health is an important dimension of overall health that has relevant consequences for quality of life. oral diseases and disorders are considered public health problems, because they impact significantly on the individuals and on the community, they present high prevalence and can be effectively prevented and controlled by programs and actions involving individuals, health professionals and the community. in several countries, dental caries levels are declining, and occlusion disorders are considered emerging problems. notwithstanding this observation, deprived segments of population remain being affected by high levels of dental disorders. data on oral health for rural population are scarce, which hinders the planning of strategies and programs aimed at the control of these conditions in rural settings.