Title: 3257 - Social Risk Factors Contributing to Poor Oral Health in Refugees


Parul Marwaha (Presenter)
Monash Health

Alana Russo, Monash Health
Ramini Shankumar, Monash Health
Jacquie McBride, Monash Health


Objectives: To assess the social risks contributing to poor oral health in refugee clients and determine correlations between social risks and caries prevalence.

Methods: A social risk assessment tool was developed; informed by existing literature, and stakeholder and community consultations. All refugee clients aged 18 or above were recruited for the project. Individuals with severe mental illness or who were unable to provide informed consent were excluded from this study. The tool was administered by certified and calibrated dental nurses. The International Caries Detection and Assessment System (ICDAS II index) was also administered by calibrated clinicians. Interpreters were used throughout data collection as required. Statistical analysis was undertaken to establish correlations between identified social risks and caries prevalence.

Results: More than 200 refugee clients participated in this study. The findings indicated statistical significant association between the presence of dental caries and biographic and social risk factors including: ‘age groups’ (c2(4) = 15.03, p=0.005); ‘additional health issue’ (c2(1) = 10.70, p=0.002); and ‘knowledge: need to visit the dentist when in pain’ variables (c2(4) = 9.33, p=0.05). Age groups 21-29 and 30-39 showed higher caries prevalence compared to other age groups (27.0% and 26.5%, respectively). Overall caries prevalence in the population was high, at nearly 82%.

Conclusions: This study has identified several social risk factors significantly associated with dental caries among refugee clients. Addressing the underlying risks is integral to reducing the prevalence of caries among refugees, and improving their overall health and oral health. These findings provide a solid evidence base to inform health promotion interventions at individual and community levels. Age groups found to have higher caries prevalence require tailored health promotion interventions to achieve better oral health outcomes.

Disclosure Statement:
The submitter must disclose the names of the organizations with which any author have a relationship, the nature of the relationship, and the clinical or research area involved. The following is submitted: NONE