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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

CUNY Faculty Studies Use of Dental Services by Immigration Status in the United States

Dr. Jim Stimpson, professor at the CUNY School of Public Health and colleagues reviewed nationally representative data to describe differences in dental care among noncitizens, naturalized citizens, and US-born citizens in the United States. The work is published in the Journal of the American Dental Association as the cover story.

Dr. James Stimpson

[Photo: Dr. James Stimpson]

The researchers used data from the 2008-2012 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to compare dental care for US-born citizens, naturalized citizens, and noncitizens 18 years and older. Naturalized citizens and noncitizens were significantly less likely to have at least 1 dental visit within 12 months compared with US-born citizens. Among users, a smaller proportion of comprehensive examination visits were for naturalized citizens and noncitizens compared with US-born citizens. Noncitizen visits to dentists were also more likely to involve tooth extraction compared with those of US-born citizens. Multivariate logistic regression suggested both non- and naturalized citizens had lower adjusted odds of having a comprehensive examination compared with US-born citizens during a visit.

The researchers concluded that increased outreach efforts tailored to noncitizens and naturalized citizens who are at high risk of experiencing dental problems are needed, particularly to address misperceptions on the necessity of preventive dental visits.