Oral health status of immigrant and refugee children in North America

Added November 13, 2020

Citation: Reza M., Amin M.S., Sgro A., et al. Oral health status of immigrant and refugee children in North America: a scoping review. Journal of the Canadian Dental Association. 2016;82(g3):1488-2159.

Children of refugees and immigrants are more likely to suffer from dental diseases. They are less likely to seek oral health care due to language, cultural and financial barriers.

Dental diseases are disproportionately concentrated among refugee and immigrant (“newcomer”) children. Children affected by dental diseases are more likely to perform poorly at school due to inattentiveness or absence. The aim of this scoping review was to assess the oral health status of the children of refugees and immigrants; the barriers to appropriate oral health care and use of dental services; and clinical and behavioral interventions for this population in North America. 32 studies met inclusion criteria, the majority of which was placed within the United States (n=26), the remainder in Canada (n=6). Children of newcomer show poorer oral health compared with local populations. Barriers limiting the access to oral health care and dental services were language, culture and financial barriers. The three studies studying intervention programs found that educational courses and counseling targeting both parents and children may improve the oral health status of the children. Despite the majority of studies identified being placed in the United States, the discussion focuses more specifically on the Canadian context.


Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the health of refugees and asylum seekers but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the health of refugees and asylum seekers on the basis of this summary alone.