Purpose: The purpose of this pilot study was to obtain information on access to care and attitudes toward oral health among the Hispanic population in Wichita, Kansas.
Methods: A convenience sample of 75 Hispanic adults, who attended clinics serving Hispanics and two social events, volunteered to complete a 63-item Spanish/English survey. Likert and open-ended questionnaires addressed issues of access and attitudes towards oral health, barriers to care, dental insurance, and demographic information. Data were analyzed using logistic regression, multivariate logistic, and OLS regression analysis, cross tabulation, and coefficient alpha.
Results: A total of 78 adults voluntarily completed the survey. Of those, three were under the age of 18 and were excluded from the sample. Of the 75 remaining surveys, 9 respondents did not report their age, rendering 66 usable responses. The age range was 18 to 80. Females comprised 56% and males 44% of the sample. Older respondents had greater consistency in oral health care, were more likely to have a regular place they received their care, and more recent visits for care. Education beyond high school predicted more dental visits, fewer months since the last oral health exam, and greater frequency of oral health care. Office workers showed more recent and more oral health care visits. Those with greater education perceived their oral health as better, recognized greater oral health needs, and were less likely to delay seeking care. Insured participants averaged fewer months since their last dental visit.
Conclusion: This pilot study furnishes base information to begin addressing the problems of access and attitudes toward oral health care by the Hispanic population in Wichita, Kansas. It provides insight into what is happening in this community and alerts oral health practitioners of needed changes. Changes include learning about cultural diversity to increase understanding of how to address and service ethnic minorities, as well as illustrating the importance of educating this population about oral health care and how to access it. These changes should in turn increase treatment acceptance and compliance. Further study including a larger sample is needed.