Oral Health among Older Chinese Immigrants and Implications for Social Work Practice

Weiyu Mao, Bei Wu, Iris Chi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This study reviewed the existing literature on oral health among older Chinese immigrants and discussed intervention strategies for improving the oral health of older Chinese immigrants in the context of social work practice. A systematic review was conducted of the existing empirical studies on oral health, dental care utilization, and traditional oral health beliefs among older Chinese immigrants. There were very limited studies published in the topic area. The findings showed that older Chinese immigrants had poorer oral health and less dental care use than the general population in their host country. Higher levels of English-language proficiency, stronger social support, and longer length of stay in the host country were positively related to increased dental care utilization. Cultural beliefs and knowledge were related to oral health status and dental care utilization. Overall, the findings support the need to consider the cultural characteristics and background of older Chinese immigrants when strengthening oral health promotion. It is critical to partner with Chinese community agencies to conduct community-based oral health promotion programs and advocate for policy changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e75-e82
JournalHealth and Social Work
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • older Chinese immigrants
  • oral health
  • social work practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)


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