A review on the oral health impacts of acculturation.

Dental Public Health, Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong, Prince Philip Dental Hospital, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong.
Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health (Impact Factor: 1.16). 11/2010; 13(2):202-13. DOI:10.1007/s10903-010-9414-9
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The impact of acculturation on systemic health has been extensively investigated and is regarded as an important explanatory factor for health disparity. However, information is limited and fragmented on the oral health implications of acculturation. This study aimed to review the current evidence on the oral health impact of acculturation. Papers were retrieved from five electronic databases. Twenty-seven studies were included in this review. Their scientific quality was rated and key findings were summarized. Seventeen studies investigated the impacts of acculturation on the utilization of dental services; among them, 16 reported positive associations between at least one acculturation indicator and use of dental services. All 15 studies relating acculturation to oral diseases (dental caries and periodontal disease) suggested better oral health among acculturated individuals. Evidence is lacking to support that better oral health of acculturated immigrants is attributable to their improved dental attendance. Further researches involving other oral health behaviors and diseases and incorporating refined acculturation scales are needed. Prospective studies will facilitate the understanding on the trajectory of immigrants' oral health along the acculturation continuum.

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