Hispanic Oral Health
By Dr. Doyle Williams, Chief Dental Officer
A new survey presented at the Hispanic Dental Association’s annual meeting in November reveals some fascinating things about the oral health needs and wants of the fastest growing population in the United States.
The survey, released by Dr. Sarita Arteag and Dr. Ivan Lugo, both from the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, asked Hispanics around the country about their oral care and what they thought would help improve it.
Some of the key findings include:
- Almost one-third of Hispanics thought cavities will go away on their own through regular tooth brushing.
- Among Hispanic parents, many knowledge gaps exist, as does the desire for more oral health information. Yet, eight in 10 Hispanic parents (82 percent) consider themselves an excellent or a good source for teaching their children about oral health habits.
These findings underscore the importance of accessible, culturally-competent care and the promotion of oral health literacy, as both help prevent conditions and diseases like cavities, gingivitis and oral cancer. It is crucial to make sure people, and especially care givers, know how to care for their teeth and gums (and their children’s teeth and gums), know the signs for concern, and when and where to go for help.
When education and culturally-competent care is accessible for parents and children alike we can ensure that everyone, regardless of language or cultural barriers, will take necessary steps toward good oral health.