September 2023

Volume 40, Issue 3

Oral health profile of Australian children from different immigrant backgrounds

Authors: Gustavo Hermes Soares Lisa Jamieson Saravana Kumar Gloria Mejia
doi: 10.1922/CDH_00268Soares08


Objectives: To profile the oral health of Australian children from different immigrant backgrounds. Method: Cross-sectional data for Australian children were obtained from the 2012-14 National Child Oral Health Study (NCOHS). Three categories of immigrant status were created based on parents’ country of birth and language (non-immigrant, non-visible immigrant, and visible immigrant). Descriptive analyses reported weighted estimates for experience of dental caries, self-rated oral health, and dental services utilisation separately for children aged 5-9 years and 10-14 years. Results: The sample comprised 10,610 children aged 5-9 years (3,605 from immigrant backgrounds), and 8,741 children aged 10-14 years (3,074 from immigrant backgrounds). Children from non-visible immigrant backgrounds presented worse dental service utilisation and poorer self-rated oral health than children from non-immigrant and visible immigrant families. Greater inequalities in dental caries experience were observed in the 5–9-year-olds. Untreated caries was substantially higher among visible immigrant children aged 5-9 years (38.8%, 95% CI: 35.5-42.3) than non-immigrant (24.9%, 95% CI: 23.4-26.6) and non-visible immigrant children (21.0%, 95% CI: 17.7-24.7). Conclusions: Australian children from immigrant families constitute a highly heterogeneous group with substantial discrepancies in oral health outcomes. Keywords: Dental caries, migrants, oral health care inequalities, oral health service utilisation

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