Is there homogeneity in periodontal health between African Americans and Mexican Americans?

Ethn Dis. Winter 2002;12(1):97-110.


Objectives: This study identified and contrasted prevalence and predictors of periodontitis among African Americans, Mexican Americans, and non-Hispanic Whites in the US adult population.

Design: Cross-sectional study. This study compared those with and without periodontitis in each racial/ethnic group.

Methods: This study was limited to records of US African-American, Mexican-American, and non-Hispanic White adults at least 17 years of age who received a complete periodontal assessment as part of the dental examination in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988-1994).

Results: Despite the findings that Mexican Americans were less educated, poorer, and had less insurance coverage than African Americans, Mexican Americans had a similar prevalence of periodontitis as non-Hispanic Whites. African Americans had the highest prevalence among all groups. A similar scenario was observed in the multiple logistic analyses.

Conclusions: Mexican Americans had periodontal health profiles closer to non-Hispanic Whites than did African Americans, despite the shared "minority" status. Public health research and practice should explicitly recognize that while "minorities" are considered a homogeneous group, they do not necessarily share the same health profiles.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior / ethnology
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Oral Health*
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Periodontitis / diagnosis*
  • Periodontitis / epidemiology
  • Periodontitis / ethnology*
  • Prevalence
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • United States
  • Whites / statistics & numerical data