Refugee child oral health

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Evidence concerning the oral health status of children is limited. Oral health care is deemed important by the parents, however, the target group experiences barriers accessing oral hygiene. This is particularly important when refugee children first arrive in their new country.

Fifty to 90% of children globally are affected by dental caries. Refugee children are at increased risk of poor oral health due to the adversity they have experienced early in life. The aim of this review is to report the oral health status of children of refugee background resettled in high-income refugee-receiving countries and to describe the oral health beliefs, knowledge and practices of them and their families, as well as oral health interventions taking place in such countries. Twelve studies were identified that reported on the oral health of children of likely refugee background or their parents out of which only one study an oral healthcare professional was involved in the screening. Evidence surrounding the current oral health status of resettled refugee children is limited. Parents acknowledged the importance of maintaining good oral practices, however, barriers in accessing traditional forms of oral hygiene were noted. All studies suggest that there is a high need for dental care when children first arrive in their new country. Impact of interventions was not reported in the studies reviewed.

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