Is the wait-for-patient-to-come approach suitable for African newcomers to Alberta, Canada?

Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2012 Dec;40(6):523-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0528.2012.00698.x. Epub 2012 Apr 30.


Objectives: A qualitative study was conducted to identify psychosocial barriers to providing and obtaining preventive dental care for preschool children among African recent immigrants.

Methods: Seven focus groups were conducted with 48 mothers of 3- to 5-year-old children from Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Somali communities in Edmonton. Participants had lived in Canada for 5 years or less. Three debriefing interviews were conducted with the community health workers who facilitated the focus groups in participants' first languages. Data analysis consisted of assigning codes, grouping codes into existing or new categories of barriers, grouping identified categories into domains, and organizing categories and domains around a general perspective of psychosocial barriers to prevention of caries.

Results: Barriers to prevention of early childhood caries (ECC) were associated with home-based prevention, early detection, and access to professional care. Barriers to parental prevention were related to health beliefs, knowledge, oral health approach, and skills. Barriers to early detection included perceived role of caregivers and dentists, perceived identity of ECC, ways of detecting cavities, and parental self-efficacy. Access barriers were related to parental knowledge of preventive services, attitudes toward dentists and dental services, English skills, and external constraints concerned dental insurance, social support, time, and transportation.

Conclusions: Preventive interventions should be aimed at assisting primary caregivers with providing and obtaining adequate dental care for their children through enhancing oral health literacy, developing new set of oral health-related skills, reducing environmental constraints, and strengthening their intention of obtaining professional preventive dental services.

MeSH terms

  • Africa / ethnology
  • Alberta
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dental Care for Children / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Preventive Dentistry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychology