This study examined which black and Hispanic minority subgroups were least likely to obtain dental care and why, based on logistic regression analyses of the 1986 National Health Interview Survey. Blacks and Hispanics were less apt to have private dental insurance coverage, to be knowledgeable about the purpose of fluoride, to have been to a dentist in the past year, and, when they did go, were more apt to have gone in response to symptoms rather than for preventive reasons, compared to whites. Logistic regression analyses for adults 18 years of age and older and for children and adolescents 2 to 17 years of age showed that the following individuals had the lowest probability of having been to a dentist in the past year: males, members of larger families, adults who were unemployed or in blue-collar jobs, those who lived in the South or nonmetropolitan areas, people who perceived their health to be fair or poor, and those with no private dental insurance. Mexican-Americans were least likely to have been to a dentist regardless of their income or education. In general, the findings confirmed the importance of dental insurance, as well as suggesting a need for more school-based dental programs and public health clinic-based dental health education and outreach efforts for targeting minority children and adults.