A reason to smile: New immigrants respond best to oral hygiene campaign

Aug 22, 2008

Tapping into the desire to have an attractive smile is the best motivator for improving oral hygiene, and new immigrants are the most receptive to oral health messages, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Authors Shuili Du (Simmons College), Sankar Sen (City University of New York), and C.B. Bhattacharya (Boston University) evaluated the effectiveness of an oral health outreach program in disadvantaged communities. They found that focusing on the social benefits of having a beautiful smile was the most effective strategy for improving dental hygiene habits among participants.

"Our findings suggest that, among children from less acculturated families, participation in this oral health program leads to not only more favorable beliefs about the health-related (preventing cavities and gum diseases) and psychosocial (beautiful smile and self-confidence) benefits of oral care behavior, but also an increase in oral care behavior such as brushing, flossing and dental checkups," write the authors.

The research found that families that had been in the United States longer were less responsive to the program's messages than new immigrants.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2002), there is a "silent epidemic" of dental and oral diseases in disadvantaged communities, particularly among children of minority racial and ethnic groups. The researchers conducted focus groups of participants in urban areas with large Hispanic populations. Those participants were parents of children in the national oral health outreach program that was launched in 2000, with the involvement of a corporate sponsor, the Boys and Girls Club of America, the American Dental Association, and dental schools.

And here's good news for the corporate sponsor: the parents who participated in the program said they intended to reciprocate by purchasing the sponsor's products. "Their intention to reciprocate toward the company is proportionate to their perceptions of how much the program has helped their children and family," the researchers conclude.

Source: University of Chicago Press Journals

Explore further: New research demonstrates benefits of national and international device registries

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

People finding their 'waze' to once-hidden streets

9 hours ago

When the people whose houses hug the narrow warren of streets paralleling the busiest urban freeway in America began to see bumper-to-bumper traffic crawling by their homes a year or so ago, they were baffled.

Identity theft victims face months of hassle

9 hours ago

As soon as Mark Kim found out his personal information was compromised in a data breach at Target last year, the 36-year-old tech worker signed up for the retailer's free credit monitoring offer so he would ...

Observers slam 'lackluster' Lima climate deal

9 hours ago

A carbon-curbing deal struck in Lima on Sunday was a watered-down compromise where national intransigence threatened the goal of a pact to save Earth's climate system, green groups said.

Your info has been hacked. Now what do you do?

10 hours ago

Criminals stole personal information from tens of millions of Americans in data breaches this past year. Of those affected, one in three may become victims of identity theft, according to research firm Javelin. ...

New Bond script stolen in Sony hack

10 hours ago

An "early version" of the screenplay for the new James Bond film was the latest victim of a massive hacking attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, its producers said in a statement on their website Sunday.

Ag-tech could change how the world eats

15 hours ago

Investors and entrepreneurs behind some of the world's newest industries have started to put their money and tech talents into farming - the world's oldest industry - with an audacious agenda: to make sure there is enough ...

Recommended for you

New approach to particle therapy dosimetry

8 hours ago

Researchers at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), in collaboration with EMRP partners, are working towards a universal approach to particle beam therapy dosimetry.

Supplement maker admits lying about ingredients

Dec 17, 2014

Federal prosecutors say the owner and president of a dietary supplement company has admitted his role in the sale of diluted and adulterated dietary ingredients and supplements sold by his company.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.