Dental Care Issues for African Immigrant Families of PreschoolersReport as inadecuate

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Early Childhood Research & Practice, v10 n2 Fall 2008

This article examines dental health issues for African immigrant families of preschoolers living in the United States. The study was done within the framework of narrative inquiry and ethnographic impressionism. Through personal interviews and questionnaire completion, 125 parents of children ages 3 to 5 answered questions about ways in which their cultures influenced their decisions concerning taking their preschool children to dentists for professional dental checkups and how often their children saw dentists. Results of the study showed low patronage by the immigrants at dental clinics. In particular, some of the preschoolers were denied professional dental health care (by their parents) because of the parents' beliefs about dental health (such as there being no need for children to see a dentist because the children's baby teeth would be replaced by permanent adult teeth). The article recommends the education of immigrant families on the need to seek professional assistance with dental health. (Contains 1 table.)

Descriptors: Dental Health, Preschool Children, Immigrants, Clinics, African Americans, Inquiry, Personal Narratives, Ethnography, Interviews, Questionnaires, Parent Attitudes, Access to Health Care, Cultural Influences

Clearinghouse on Early Education and Parenting, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 51 Gerty Drive, Champaign, IL 61820. Tel: 877-275-3227; Tel: 217-333-1386; Fax: 217-244-7732; e-mail: ecrp[at]; Web site:

Author: Obeng, Cecilia S.


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