Objective: The purpose of this study was to provide and evaluate oral health care education programs for refugees resettled in the US. Methods: This project consisted of six sessions, which were held from February to April 2017. Each session included the following components: 1) a short survey that included demographic questions and oral health-related questions; 2) a class on oral health home care class; 3) a focus group; and 4) a post-class survey on class satisfaction. Participants were individuals who had a refugee background and were ages 18 and older at the time of the session. Results: Twenty-seven refugees from diverse ethnic backgrounds participated in this study. Refugees that have resettled in the US may not have had opportunities to learn about oral health care, but seem to be interested in oral health education, and find the information useful. While brushing teeth seems to be commonly practiced (though their methods of brushing may not be appropriate), flossing teeth is not. Before resettlement, participants had poor oral health practices and habits, lacked resources, and also maintained cultural norms that negatively affected their oral health. Conclusion: It is important to develop and provide educational programs to promote proper oral health practices for refugees. The changes in their environment after migration to the US such as unfamiliarity to dental health practice and the addition of sugary food/drinks to their lives should be considered in oral health education.
Akiko Kamimura, Clayton Booth, Kai Sin, Mu Pye, Alla Chernenko, Hsien-Wen Meng, Talon Harris, Mary Stoddard, Darbee Hagerty, Ali Al-Sarray and Lea Erickson
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