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Exploring issues related to attitudes towards dental care among second-generation ethnic groups

This paper presents an investigation of factors that influence going to the dentist among minority ethnic groups in Glasgow. A qualitative semistructured research methodology was used. The sample covered the major ethnic groups living inGlasgow. One hundred respondents, both men and women, from Pakistani, Indian, Chinese and white ethnic backgrounds, aged 20–45 years were recruited through a sampling strategy that used the electoral roll, mail-shots and social networks, ensuring a socially and culturally diverse sample. Findings showed that participants viewed themselves as being more pro-active about seeing the dentist than their parents, and appreciated the importance of regular dental check-ups. However, the dentist was still seen by many as a problem solver rather than someone to visit for regular check-ups. Some Pakistani women preferred to see a female dentist, but if they had to see a male dentist, they preferred an indigenous person. Chinese participants reported communication problems and a preference for dentists from the same ethnic background. Languagewas an issue for some Pakistani and Indian participants because they had to accompany their elders to the dentist in order to translate. The major barriers to regular dental check-ups are not associated with ethnicity per se but relate to cost, timeand dental anxiety. These findings demonstrate that acculturation has occurred in relation to attitudes towards visiting the dentist, and that the perceptions found among diverse second-generation minority ethnic groups now fit with current generalpopulation trends.

Author(s): Kenneth Mullen, Rohan Chauhan, Rafik Gardee, Lorna M D Macpherson

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