Immigrant Status and Oral Health Disparities among Asian Americans in the United States
OBJECTIVES: To explore the roles of household language, foreign-born status, and citizenship on disparities in dental care, and oral health status among Asians in the U.S.
METHODS: Based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011-2018, the author applied weighted nested logistic regression to describe the effects of household language, foreign-born status, and citizenship on dentist visits and self-rated oral health. Weighted negative binomial regression was used to explore the effects of immigrant status on the number of missing teeth. Socioeconomic status and demographic characteristics were controlled for.
RESULTS: Asians who do not speak English at home present 1.428 times higher likelihood of irregular dentist visits, and 1.487 times higher self-rated fair/poor oral health. Respondents with no citizenship are more likely (OR=1.752) to present irregular dentist visits. Foreign-born Asians present more missing teeth (OR=1.361) than their U.S.-born counterparts.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite the fact that Asians are often regarded as “model minorities” and/or “successful immigrants”, those with lower immigrant statuses illustrated higher risk for irregular dentist visits and disadvantaged oral health status.
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