Oral Health Beliefs, Attitudes, and Practices of South Asian Migrants: A Systematic Review Academic Article uri icon


  • Oral health is a burden among all populations and is linked with major chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases. Migrants, in particular South Asians, have poor oral health which requires further understanding to better inform oral health interventions by targeting specific aspects of this heterogenous South Asian population. This review is undertaken to systematically synthesize the evidence of oral health understandings, knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, practices, and behaviors of South Asian migrants residing in high-income countries. A comprehensive systematic search of seven electronic databases and hand-searching for peer-reviewed studies was conducted. All study designs were included, and quality assessment conducted. Of the 1614 records identified, 17 were included for synthesis and 12 were quantitative in design. These studies were primarily conducted in the UK, USA, Canada, and Europe. South Asian migrants had inadequate oral health knowledge, attitudes, and practices—influenced by culture, social norms, and religiosity. In the absence of symptoms, preventive oral hygiene practices were limited. Barriers to access varied with country of origin; from lack of trust in dentists and treatment cost in studies with India as the country of origin, to religiosity, among poorer nations such as Bangladesh. Fewer studies focused on recent arrivals from Bhutan or the Maldives. Culturally and socially appropriate strategies must be developed to target oral health issues and a “one-size” fits all approach will be ineffective in addressing the needs of South Asian migrants.

publication date

  • 2019