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J Cross Cult Gerontol. 2013 Mar;28(1):27-47. doi: 10.1007/s10823-013-9187-4.

The influence of culture on the oral health-related beliefs and behaviours of elderly chinese immigrants: a meta-synthesis of the literature.

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Department of Sociology and Centre on Aging, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.


Neglect of the mouth can lead to impairment, disability, and discomfort; as a result, it can have a negative impact on quality of life in old age. Some minority groups in North America shoulder a disproportionate burden of dental impairment compared to people of European origins, possibly because of different cultural beliefs and a distrust of Western oral healthcare. This paper explores these factors in elderly Chinese immigrants through a meta-synthesis of selected literature that reveals a dynamic interplay of traditional Chinese beliefs about oral health, immigration, and structural factors mediating access to Western dentistry. It also identifies several conceptual issues and gaps in knowledge, offers avenues of research including the cross-cultural application of two recent models of oral health, and discusses various strategies for improving access to dental services for minority populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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