Background. Few studies have examined utilization of oral health care services among immigrants. The authors examined the determinants ' of utilization of oral health care among a diverse group of immigrants in New York City. Methods. The authors examined and interviewed 1,417 foreign-born people, aged 18 to 65 years, who were residents of New York City. They conducted examinations by using criteria established by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, Bethesda, Md. The authors used unconditional logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95 percent confidence intervals for having visited a dentist within the previous year for each of the independent variables. Results. More than 70 percent of the participants lacked dental insurance and only about 31 percent reported that they had visited a dentist within the previous year. Flossing (OR = 1.18), dental insurance (OR = 1.58), having a regular source of dental care (OR = 4.76) and more filled teeth (1.33) were independent predictors of utilization of services. Conclusions. Having a regular source of dental care and having dental insurance are important predictors of immigrants' utilization of oral health care services in New York City. Clinical Implications. The study results suggest the importance of establishing affordable, culturally appropriate, community-based oral health care services to improve the oral health of vulnerable populations. Dental care utilization, oral health care utilization, immigrants, regular source of dental care, dental insurance, acculturation, race/ethnicity.
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