The neglect of migrant oral health: setting a research agenda for Europe

D. Duijster, C. Agyemang

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Oral diseases are among the most prevalent diseases worldwide and they disproportionately affect populations from lower socioeconomic position (SEP).1 In response to this challenge, the Global Oral Health Inequalities Research Network2 and the International Centre for Oral Health Inequalities Research and Policy1 were formed to set out priorities for action and research to reduce inequalities in oral health. These initiatives, however, tend to concentrate on ‘socioeconomic differences’. There is limited focus and scientific data on oral health inequalities among ethnic minority and migrant groups (henceforth migrants), especially in Europe. With 53.1 million foreign-born residents in Europe, migrants currently make up 10% of the EU’s total population.3 Migrants are more likely to experience poverty and social exclusion, and studies showed poorer health outcomes of migrants compared to the host European population–even when SEP is taken into account.4

The effects of migration may also have implications for oral health. Challenges with accessing oral healthcare services, different oral health beliefs and practices and health compromising living circumstances prior, during and/or post migration may expose them to more oral diseases compared to the host European populations. Yet, evidence on this is seriously lacking in Europe, in contrast to the extent of research done on this topic in the USA, or in other health arenas. The few European studies that have been conducted predominantly focused on children, often showing higher levels of dental caries among migrants,5 while data on adult migrants and determinants underlying these inequalities remain scant.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)984-985
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

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