Objectives: This study examined factors related to oral health and dental service use among Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, and Puerto Ricans from the Hispanic Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1982-84 (HHANES).
Methods: Categorical measures of oral health were created: (1) perceived oral health status, (2) evaluated oral health status, (3) decayed permanent teeth, (4) teeth missing due to caries, (5) total permanent teeth present, and (6) periodontal classification. The effects of acculturation, education, dental insurance, and perceived condition of teeth and gums on dental service use in the past two and five years were examined using logistic regression. All analyses were performed separately for each of the three samples using SAS-callable SUDDAN.
Results: Dental insurance and education were the most important factors in determining use of dental cleanings and use of dental care. For Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, and Puerto Ricans, acculturation was a factor in determining use of dental care in the past five years.
Conclusions: While dental insurance and education appear to be the most important factors for determining both use of dental cleaning services and use of dental care in all three samples, acculturation also had some impact for determining use of dental care.