Oral health status of Mexican-Americans with low and high acculturation status: findings from southwestern HHANES, 1982-84

J Public Health Dent. Winter 1990;50(1):24-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-7325.1990.tb03553.x.


This article presents the results of a cross-sectional analysis of the prevalence of dental caries and periodontal disease, as well as the use of dental services, among 395 low acculturated dentate Mexican-Americans, 12-74 years of age, examined during the southwestern portion of the Hispanic Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HHANES). Comparisons were carried out with 1,894 dentate Mexican-Americans who had high acculturation status. Mexican-American adolescents and adults with low acculturation status had 73 and 116 percent higher mean number of decayed and missing teeth, respectively, compared with those with high acculturation status. The differences between the two groups, however, did not remain statistically significant when the confounding effects of age, sex, education, and income status were taken into account. Gingivitis and periodontal pocketing were highly prevalent in both groups, but those with low acculturation status had significantly higher disease levels than those with high acculturation status. Despite the unmet dental needs and the higher prevalence of dental caries and periodontal disease, Mexican-Americans with low acculturation status were significantly less likely than those with high acculturation status to have dental insurance and to have visited the dentist as frequently.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology*
  • Dental Caries / ethnology
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Humans
  • Mexico / ethnology
  • Middle Aged
  • Oral Hygiene Index
  • Periodontal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Periodontal Diseases / ethnology
  • Periodontal Index
  • Prevalence
  • Southwestern United States / epidemiology