Dental caries prevalence and dental health care of Mexican-American workers' children

ASDC J Dent Child. 1998 Jan-Feb;65(1):65-72.


The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of dental caries and the use of dental services in a pediatric population of Mexican-American migrant workers. The results were compared with the Mexican-American child population from the Hispanic Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HHANES). One hundred thirty three-to-sixteen-year-old children participated in the study. The children who were born in Mexico and those who spoke Spanish had seen the dentist less often and had a higher incidence of decayed teeth than those who were born in the US and than those who spoke English (p < 0.05). The children from low-income families had visited the dentist less frequently and did so at an older age than those from high income families (p < 0.05). When compared with HHANES, the children in this study visited the dentist at an older age, had been to the dentist less often, were less likely to have dental insurance, and had a higher incidence of dental caries than the children from HHANES (p > 0.05). This study demonstrated a general lack of dental health knowledge, a disproportionate prevalence of decayed teeth and unmet dental need in the Mexican-American migrant workers' children.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Care for Children / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Education, Dental
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / statistics & numerical data
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Insurance, Dental
  • Language
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Oral Hygiene Index
  • Poverty
  • Prevalence
  • Social Class
  • Tooth Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Transients and Migrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People