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

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

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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Correspondence to Edmond Ghiabi.

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Ghiabi, E., Matthews, D.C. & Brillant, M.S. The Oral Health Status of Recent Immigrants and Refugees in Nova Scotia, Canada. J Immigrant Minority Health 16, 95–101 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-013-9785-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-013-9785-9

Keywords

  • Immigrants
  • Refugees
  • Canada
  • Oral health
  • Dental