In all health fields, limited infrastructure and resources hinder the provision of basic services to low-income populations. Subsequently, oral health is often neglected, as over 90% of caries remains untreated in developing communities. In order to deliver the most cost-effective prevention methods, public health officials must assess each available strategy on an individual community basis. In this paper, examples from oral health will demonstrate the importance of community-specific determinants in the formation of preventive public health policies. These determinants include economical, cultural, social, and political elements that can assist policy makers in generating effective functional public health policies.