Factors associated with unmet dental care needs in Canadian immigrants: An analysis of the longitudinal survey of immigrants to Canada

Paola Calvasina, Carles Muntaner, Carlos Quiñonez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Immigrants are often considered to have poorer oral health than native born-populations. One possible explanation for immigrants' poor oral health is lack of access to dental care. There is very little information on Canadian immigrants' access to dental care, and unmet dental care needs. This study examines predictors of unmet dental care needs among a sample of adult immigrants to Canada over a three-point-five-year post-migration period. Methods: A secondary data analysis was conducted on the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC). Sampling and bootstrap weights were applied to make the data nationally representative. Simple descriptive analyses were conducted to describe the demographic characteristics of the sample. Bivariate and multiple logistic regression analyses were applied to identify factors associated with immigrants' unmet dental care needs over a three-point-fiveyear period. Results: Approximately 32% of immigrants reported unmet dental care needs. Immigrants lacking dental insurance (OR = 2.63; 95% CI: 2.05-3.37), and those with an average household income of $20,000 to $40,000 per year (OR = 1.62; 95% CI: 1.01-2.61), and lower than $20,000 (OR = 2.25; 95% CI: 1.31-3.86), were more likely to report unmet dental care needs than those earning more than $60,000 per year. In addition, South Asian (OR = 1.85; CI: 1.25-2.73) and Chinese (OR = 2.17; CI: 1.47-3.21) immigrants had significantly higher odds of reporting unmet dental care needs than Europeans. Conclusions: Lack of dental insurance, low income and ethnicity predicted unmet dental care needs over a three-pointfive- year period in a sample of immigrants to Canada.

Original languageEnglish
Article number145
JournalBMC Oral Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the funders of this project: The Population Health Improvement Research Network (PHIRN), of the Applied Health Research Network Initiative (AHRNI), of the Government of Ontario; and the University of Toronto, Faculty of Dentistry Harron Scholarship.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Calvasina et al.


  • Canada
  • Dental care
  • Immigrants
  • Longitudinal studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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