The association of immigration and acculturation attributes with oral health among immigrants in New York City

Gustavo D. Cruz, Yu Chen, Christian R. Salazar, Racquel Z. Le Geros

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Objectives. We examined associations between immigration and acculturation attributes and oral disease among immigrants. Methods. We conducted a large cross-sectional study of 1318 immigrants in New York City. We performed comprehensive interviews and oral examinations of the participants and used linear regression models to assess differences in oral disease levels among immigrant subgroups. We also constructed proportional odds models to evaluate the association of oral disease level with length of stay in the United States, age at immigration, and language preference. Results. After we controlled for most known risk factors, country of birth and age at immigration were associated with variations in oral disease prevalence and need for oral health care. Length of stay was inversely associated with need for treatment of dental caries but not with any other indicator of oral disease. Language preference was not associated with any indicator of oral disease. Conclusions. Immigrants' country of birth, length of stay in the United States, and age at immigration played important roles in their oral disease prevalence, independently of most known risk factors for oral diseases. Our findings emphasize the need for more studies to elucidate the complex relationships of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and culturally influenced factors that impact immigrants' oral health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S474-S480
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
StatePublished - Oct 22 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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