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: Is head CT overused in emergency departments?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Learning anti-microbial physics from cicada

Nov 27, 2014

(Phys.org) —Inspired by the wing structure of a small fly, an NPL-led research team developed nano-patterned surfaces that resist bacterial adhesion while supporting the growth of human cells.

A cold case heats up again

Sep 10, 2014

Twenty-five years ago, a U of A professor together with a newly minted alumnus, John Geiger, '81 BA, published Frozen in Time, a shocking and influential account of the Franklin expedition's disastrous final ...

New type of cell movement discovered

Aug 28, 2014

For decades, researchers have used petri dishes to study cell movement. These classic tissue culture tools, however, only permit two-dimensional movement, very different from the three-dimensional movements ...

Pets and anesthesia

Mar 21, 2014

Have you been avoiding getting your pet regular dental care? You're not alone. Most pet owners understand that in animals—just as in people—good oral health is conducive to overall well-being, says Gillian Fraser, V00, ...

Recommended for you

Is head CT overused in emergency departments?

5 hours ago

Less than 7.1% of patients presenting to the emergency department with dizziness and 6.4% complaining of syncope or near-syncope benefited from head CT say researchers at Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Honolulu. The use of ...

Medical radiation may be reduced to one-sixth

7 hours ago

One of this century's most significant mathematical discoveries may reduce the number of measuring points to one-sixth of the present level. This means reduced exposure to radiation and faster medical imaging ...

The 'fifth taste,' umami, could be beneficial for health

20 hours ago

The umami taste could have an important and beneficial role in health, according to research published in the open access journal Flavour. The journal's special series of articles 'The Science of Taste' also finds that ' ...

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.