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Aust N Z J Public Health. 2000 Dec;24(6):623-6.

Aspects of tooth decay in recently arrived refugees.

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United Dental Hospital, 2 Chalmers Street, Surry Hills, NSW, South Australia 2010.



To measure and compare the prevalence and distribution of tooth decay among two refugee groups recently arrived in Australia.


The study included refugees aged 15-44 years from Iraq and the former Yugoslavia and random, age-matched social security recipients attending for emergency dental care in 1996.


In younger persons, former Yugoslavian refugees had significantly greater decay experience than Iraqis and emergency care recipients. Refugees had significantly more untreated decay than emergency care recipients and a similar distribution of untreated decayed teeth, with only 15% having none and more than 10% having high decay levels. More than 33% of emergency care recipients had no untreated decay and less than 5% had high levels.


Significant differences were found between refugees and emergency dental care recipients, with refugees having a higher prevalence and more uniform distribution of untreated decay.


Consistent with public health objectives, the finding that refugees had significantly more untreated decay than other disadvantaged Australians provides support for improved access to dental care during the settlement period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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