Prevalence and Patterns of Dental Care Utilization among US-Born and Non–US Born Hispanics in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos

A. A. Akinkugbe, S. E. Raskin, E. E. Donahue, M. E. Youngblood, N. N. Laniado, K. M. Perreira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: Access to routine dental services is important to maintaining good oral health. The aims of this study were to describe the dental care utilization patterns of a diverse group of Hispanic/Latino men and women and assess differences in dental care utilization by perceived need for dental care and proxy measures of acculturation. Methods: Data from 13,792 participants of the Hispanic Community Health Study were analyzed with SAS 9.4. Time since last dental visit was dichotomized into <1 and ≥1 y. Acculturation measures included the language and social subscales of the Short Acculturation Scale for Hispanics, the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis nativity subscore, and immigrant generation. Survey logistic regression adjusted for demographic (age and sex) and health-related variables, estimated associations among perceived need for dental care, acculturation measures, and dental care utilization. Results: About a quarter (23%) of the participants were born in the 50 US states, excluding territories, while 77% were non–US born. Overall, 74% perceived a need for dental care. Upon covariate adjustment, perceiving a need for dental care was associated with reduced odds of reporting a past-year dental visit (odds ratio, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.28 to 0.37), while there appeared to be no meaningful association between proxy measures of acculturation and past-year dental visit. Having health insurance was significantly associated with a past-year dental visit (odds ratio, 2.23; 95% CI, 1.99 to 2.49) for all groups combined and among the different Hispanic/Latino background groups. Conclusions: Acculturation affects general health and contributes to general health disparities; however, its role in dental care utilization remains questionable. Given that acculturation is a process that occurs over several years, longitudinal studies that evaluate oral health trajectories along the acculturation continuum are needed. Knowledge Transfer Statement: The results of this study are valuable for dental public health program planning and implementation for minority groups, as it describes the varying patterns of dental care utilization among US-born and non–US born Hispanics/Latinos and identifies factors that may partly explain dental care utilization patterns, such as acculturation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-233
Number of pages12
JournalJDR Clinical and Translational Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Latino/a
  • acculturation
  • health insurance
  • immigrant
  • oral health
  • population health


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