A reason to smile: New immigrants respond best to oral hygiene campaign

August 22, 2008

Tapping into the desire to have an attractive smile is the best motivator for improving oral hygiene, and new immigrants are the most receptive to oral health messages, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Authors Shuili Du (Simmons College), Sankar Sen (City University of New York), and C.B. Bhattacharya (Boston University) evaluated the effectiveness of an oral health outreach program in disadvantaged communities. They found that focusing on the social benefits of having a beautiful smile was the most effective strategy for improving dental hygiene habits among participants.

"Our findings suggest that, among children from less acculturated families, participation in this oral health program leads to not only more favorable beliefs about the health-related (preventing cavities and gum diseases) and psychosocial (beautiful smile and self-confidence) benefits of oral care behavior, but also an increase in oral care behavior such as brushing, flossing and dental checkups," write the authors.

The research found that families that had been in the United States longer were less responsive to the program's messages than new immigrants.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2002), there is a "silent epidemic" of dental and oral diseases in disadvantaged communities, particularly among children of minority racial and ethnic groups. The researchers conducted focus groups of participants in urban areas with large Hispanic populations. Those participants were parents of children in the national oral health outreach program that was launched in 2000, with the involvement of a corporate sponsor, the Boys and Girls Club of America, the American Dental Association, and dental schools.

And here's good news for the corporate sponsor: the parents who participated in the program said they intended to reciprocate by purchasing the sponsor's products. "Their intention to reciprocate toward the company is proportionate to their perceptions of how much the program has helped their children and family," the researchers conclude.
-end-
Shuili Du, Sankar Sen, and C.B. Bhattacharya. "Exploring the Social and Business Returns of a Corporate Oral Health Initiative Aimed at Disadvantaged Hispanic Families" Journal of Consumer Research: October 2008.

University of Chicago Press Journals

Related Immigrants Articles from Brightsurf:

Immigrants who naturalize outearn their peers
Looking at municipalities in Switzerland where citizenship applications were put to a popular vote, researchers identified immigrants who narrowly won or lost and tracked their earnings over the next several decades.

US-born residents more than 5 times likely to use prescription opioids than new immigrants
The longer immigrants live in the United States, the more likely they are to use prescription opioids -- a fact that contradicts popular views linking wealth and health, and suggests that American culture is uniquely favorable toward prescribing opioids.

Length of time in US associated with immigrants' opioid use
The more time first-generation immigrants spend in the United States the more likely it appears they will use prescription opioids.

Undocumented immigrants' transplant survival rates on par with US citizens'
Unauthorized immigrants who receive liver transplants in the United States have comparable three-year survival rates to US citizens, according to a study by researchers at UC San Francisco.

Immigrants who committed felonies less likely than nonimmigrants to commit another felony
A new study compared recidivism rates of foreign-born and native-born individuals formerly incarcerated for felonies and released from prisons in Florida.

Uncovering the roots of discrimination toward immigrants
Immigrants are often encouraged to assimilate into their new culture as a way of reducing conflict with their host societies, to appear less threatening to the culture and national identity of the host population.

Immigrants: citizens' acceptance depends on questions asked
How many immigrants per year should Switzerland be prepared to welcome?

How societal attitudes, political rhetoric affect immigrants' health
For immigrants to the United States, the current political climate, and debates over issues such as a border wall, become part of the environment that influences their health, according to a new University of Washington study.

UK prejudice against immigrants amongst lowest in Europe
A new study published in Frontiers in Sociology challenges prevailing attitudes on Brexit, the nature of prejudice, and the social impact of modernization.

Research shows biases against immigrants with non-anglicized names
Using variations of the 'trolley-dilemma' where people choose who to save or not save others in a hypothetical situation, social psychologists show that for certain groups, under certain conditions in a hypothetical scenario, having an anglicized name means you're more likely to be saved than if you kept your original Asian or Arab name.

Read More: Immigrants News and Immigrants Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.