alexa Objective and Subjective Oral Health and Quality of Lif
ISSN: 2247-2452

Oral Health and Dental Management
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Research Article

Objective and Subjective Oral Health and Quality of Life of Migrant Farm Workers in the U.S.A.

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In 2008, more than one million hired farm workers were employed in the U.S.A. These farm workers constituted a third of the total U.S. agricultural workforce. Prior research showed that the majority of these migrant workers had oral health problems, without having access to oral health care services. Objectives: To explore the relationship between migrant farm workers’ objective and subjective oral health and their oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL). Methods: Data were collected from a convenience sample of 120 migrant workers (average age: 37.58 years; age range: 18 to 65 years; 51.2% male/48.8% female; 96% Hispanic) during oral examinations and face-to-face interviews conducted in Spanish in migrant worker camps in Northern Michigan. Results: 19% of the respondents had dental abscesses, 71.9% had untreated caries, and 43.8% had lost teeth because of caries. Nevertheless, only 21.7% described their oral health as poor (average subjective oral health rated on a five-point scale, with 1 = “poor oral health”: 2.42). However, 98.3% rated the importance of good dental health as high. The respondents’ general, psychological and social indices of OHRQoL were significantly correlated with objective and subjective oral health indicators and oral health-related behaviour. Conclusions: A substantial percentage of migrant workers have impaired oral health. Despite objective indicators of poor oral health, the migrant workers’ self-perceived oral health was not as negative as might have been expected. However, OHRQoL assessments showed the ways in which their quality of life was impaired by their oral health status.


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