To compare the self-reported oral health status of elderly immigrant to Canadian-born (non-immigrant) seniors in Canada.
Materials and Methods: This was a secondary data analysis of publicly available data from the 2008/09 Canadian Community Health Survey: Healthy Aging component (CCHS-HA). The sample consisted of 30,865 people aged 45 years and above. The outcome was self-reported oral health. We used predisposing (age, sex, marital status, immigrant status, time since immigration, smoking, alcohol use), enabling (education, household income, dental insurance, social support), need (self-reported health) and behavioural variables (brushing, physician and dentist visits) to compare the oral health status between immigrant and non-immigrant elders. Descriptive statistics and binary logistic regression were performed.
Results: 16.9% of elderly immigrants reported fair to poor self-rated oral health compared to 10.5% non-immigrants. The predictors influencing fair to poor oral health among immigrant and non-immigrant elders varied. Significant predictors for immigrant elders included age, gender, marital status, education, income and physician visits. For non-immigrant seniors, last dental visit, income and education played a role in how oral health status was reported.
Conclusion: An increasing influx of immigrants-coupled with an increasingly aging population, including elderly immigrants-has important public health policy implications. Policy approaches that incorporate oral health education, dental screening, awareness raising, and community-based initiatives in immigrant-concentrated areas would be beneficial when targeting the low-socio-economic status elderly immigrant population.