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J Dent Hyg. 2015 Dec;89(6):397-404.

Oral Health Care of Vietnamese Adolescents: A Qualitative Study of Perceptions and Practices.



To explore the oral health perceptions and practices of Vietnamese adolescents 13 to 17 years old in San Jose, Calif.


A purposeful sample of 10 Vietnamese parents with adolescent children were recruited at a Temple in San Jose, Calif. After gaining parental consent and adolescent assent, Vietnamese adolescents participated in an audio-taped, 20 to 30 minute, individual, semi-structured interview in English to explore their perceptions about oral health. Interview data were transcribed verbatim. All statements related to each question were identified, and similar statements were grouped into categories.


Ten adolescents participated in the study. All reported tooth appearance as the most important reason for oral care, and that oral health, diet and general health were related. All were concerned about dental pain. Of the respondents, 9 believed that having good teeth would give them more confidence, and help them find jobs and romantic partners, while 2 did not follow recommended oral hygiene routines or recognize early signs of disease. Seven participants favored U.S. dentists over Vietnamese dentists. Frequently reported barriers to seeking dental care were fear of dental treatment (n=7) and inability to pay for dental care (n=6).


When educating Vietnamese adolescents, dental hygienists need to highlight availability of pain control, encourage better performance of personal oral hygiene and recommend dental clinics with sliding fee scales to low-income families. This approach to oral health education may enhance dental health and seeking of regular dental visits.


adolescents; attitude; belief; oral health; perception; qualitative

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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