Rural Mexican immigrant parents' interpretation of children's dental symptoms and decisions to seek treatment.
ABSTRACT Mexican-origin children have higher rates of decay and lower dental utilization rates than children from all other racial/ethnic groups. Different cultural groups' interpretations of dental symptoms illuminate their different decision-making process about seeking care. Through ethnography in a small rural U.S. city, we examined low-income Mexican immigrant caregivers' interpretations of their children's dental symptoms and evaluations of the need for treatment.
We conducted 49 in-depth interviews with 26 Mexican immigrant caregivers about their perceptions of their children's dental symptoms, and observations of five such caregivers' help-seeking episodes and 30 other caregivers' presentation of their children's symptoms at dental clinics. All interviews and fieldnotes were analyzed qualitatively through a series of readings and codings.
A conceptual model of caregivers' decision-making processes was developed. Most caregivers deduced the health of teeth from visible appearance, and thus children's complaints of pain alone were often ineffective in triggering a dental visit. Caregivers often delayed treatment because they viewed their children's oral disease as mere "stains" requiring cleaning rather than as bacterial infections requiring restorative treatment. Parents appeared to confuse carious "stains" with fluorosis stains common in rural Mexico.
Even when Mexican immigrant caregivers recognize a dental problem, they often misinterpret it as a "stain." Caregivers' interpretations of decay were shaped by their lack of experience with children's decay in rural Mexico. Oral health education programs should help rural immigrant caregivers distinguish between "stains" and "cavities," and understand the heightened oral hygiene requirements of the cariogenic diet in industrialized countries.
SourceAvailable from: Maryam AminOral Diseases 06/2014; DOI:10.1155/2014/986745 · 2.40 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To assess parental awareness of their child's dental status and the relationship between parental awareness and children's dental attendance. Participants were children aged 6 years or younger and their African parents who had lived in Canada for up to 10 years. Demographics and parents' perceived dental status were collected. Children's normative dental status was determined by dental examinations. 125 pairs of parents and children aged 21-72 months were included. 52 % of the children never had a dental visit. Dental status of 44 % of children was rated as good by parents, among them, 56 % had dental decay. Parental assessments did not coincide with the clinical assessments of 62 % of children. No correlation was found between parental awareness and children's dental attendance. Children of African immigrants are at high risk for developing severe dental decay because of low parental awareness and lack of regular dental visits.Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 09/2013; 17(1). DOI:10.1007/s10903-013-9912-7 · 1.16 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The objectives of this study were to identify dental hygiene themes voiced by adults and teenagers of Mexican origin [or Mexican Americans (MAs)] and place these themes within the larger landscape of oral health and dental care perceptions.Journal of Public Health Dentistry 10/2014; DOI:10.1111/jphd.12076 · 1.64 Impact Factor