Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 95–101 | Cite as

The Oral Health Status of Recent Immigrants and Refugees in Nova Scotia, Canada

  • Edmond Ghiabi
  • Debora C. Matthews
  • Martha Smith Brillant
Original Paper


There are no published reports on the oral health status of adult immigrants and refugees in Canada. An oral health interview and clinical oral examination were conducted on 45 recent immigrants and 41 recent Bhutanese refugees, aged 18–67, in Nova Scotia, Canada. Over half (53 %) of the immigrants and 85 % of the refugees had untreated decay. Most (89 % of immigrants; 98 % of refugees) had moderate to severe gingivitis and the majority (73 % of immigrants; 85 % of refugees) had moderate to severe periodontitis. Despite these, 64 % of immigrants and 49 % of refugees rated their oral health as good, very good or excellent, and most believed they did not need fillings or periodontal treatment. Oral disease among the study sample was higher than the Canadian average and there was a striking discrepancy between self-reported and clinically determined need for dental care.


Immigrants Refugees Canada Oral health Dental 



This study was supported by a generous grant from the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation. We express our sincere appreciation to the following individuals for their contribution to this project: Dr. Joanne Clovis, Associate Professor in the School of Dental Hygiene at Dalhousie University; Dr. Ingrid Waldron, Assistant Professor in the School of Occupational Therapy at Dalhousie University; Dr. Swarna Weerasinghe, Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie University and Dr. Ferne Kraglund, Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University Faculty of Dentistry. Last, but by no means least, we would like to thank the YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth and the Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services (ISIS) for their vital assistance in recruiting patients for the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edmond Ghiabi
    • 1
  • Debora C. Matthews
    • 1
  • Martha Smith Brillant
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Dental Clinical Sciences, Faculty of DentistryDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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