Oral health status of Canadian-born and immigrant adolescents in North York, Ontario

Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 1998 Jun;26(3):177-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0528.1998.tb01947.x.


Studies from a number of countries, including Canada, have demonstrated that the oral health status of immigrants is worse than that of their native-born counterparts and that they make less use of dental services. To date, however, little information is available which documents changes in immigrant oral health following immigration. This paper reports the results of a study conducted in the City of North York, Ontario, that examined the oral health status of Canadian-born and immigrant adolescents aged 13 and 14 years. The former had better oral health than the latter on all parameters assessed and made more use of dental services. Within the immigrant population, there was a significant association between oral health and time since immigration. Those who had been in Canada 6 or more years were significantly healthier than those who had arrived within the preceding 2 years. While changing patterns of immigration may account for part of these differences, the data suggest that access to dental public health programs, delivered to students between the ages of 4 and 14 years, have been effective in improving the oral health of those born outside Canada. Since these programs cease at age 13 or 14 years, barriers to accessing the private dental care sector may mean that the residual inequities and inequalities evident in the data widen as these individuals age.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Dental Care for Children / statistics & numerical data
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology*
  • Dental Deposits / epidemiology*
  • Emigration and Immigration / statistics & numerical data*
  • Gingivitis / epidemiology*
  • Health Care Sector / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Oral Health
  • Oral Hygiene Index
  • Private Sector / statistics & numerical data
  • Public Health Dentistry / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors