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U.S. immigrants’ oral health status examined in June JADA

May 24, 2018

By Michelle Manchir


Noncitizen immigrants in the U.S. report having substantially poorer oral health than natives, according to research published in the June issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association.

For the cover story, “Disparities in Oral Health by Immigration Status in the United States,” researchers analyzed oral health data from the 2013 to 2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They found that more than a half (50.5 percent) of noncitizens were diagnosed with periodontal disease and 38 percent had dental caries, while for natives, these rates were 34.4 percent and 27 percent, respectively. After adjusting for age, sex, race or ethnicity, education, poverty, smoking status and number of permanent teeth, noncitizens still had 45 percent higher adjusted odds of periodontal disease than natives, according to the article.

Researchers noted that lack of insurance was a major driver of poor oral health for noncitizens, with 51.2 percent having no insurance compared to 14.3 percent for U.S. natives.

“Our study highlights the need for state and federal policies and targeted oral health interventions to help improve access to preventive dental care in immigrant communities,” said Fernando A. Wilson, Ph.D., corresponding author of the article and an associate professor in the department of health services research and administration at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Public Health.

To read the entire article, visit

Other features in the June issue of JADA include a look how patients use social media to share their experiences of dental care; an assessment of trends in annual dental visits among adults with diabetes; and a special insert that covers information about ADA 2018 — America’s Dental Meeting in Honolulu.

Each month, JADA articles are published online at in advance of the print publication.