As part of the US’ Study of Latinos, 16,000 Latinos of many different ethnic subgroups were interviewed at four sites across the US, including San Diego. The results show that although decay is common, most Latinos with decay get dental treatment, although the incidence of decay and treatment varied significantly among the subgroups.
A Diverse Population
The Study of Latinos looked at a large, diverse population of Latinos at the four different survey locations. As would be expected, at the San Diego survey location, the population was almost entirely Mexican–about 3800 of the 4000 people–but in the Bronx, about the same number was evenly split between Dominicans and Puerto Ricans, and in Miami, about 75% of participants were Cuban or Central American.
In the study, more than half of participants were in the 45-64 age group, with less than 1500 in the 65 to 74 age group. About 60% of the participants were women. The income was known for 88% of participants. About 42% of participants had an income of $20,000 a year or less, with 36% in the $20,000 to $50,000 range and 10% made $50,000 or more. With the median income in the San Diego area of about $60,000, this means that the majority of Latinos in the area are likely in the lower income ranges of the population.
Decay Varies Among Groups
The survey found that the amount of decayed, filled, and missing teeth varied significantly among the different groups, and in some cases, they were better off than the overall population.
About 85% of Latinos had decayed teeth, including both filled and unfilled decay, which is better than the overall US rate of 92% of adults age 20 to 64 who have had at least one cavity in their permanent teeth. Decay ranged from 82% to 87%, so no group reached the average US level. However, in terms of untreated decay, many of the groups were worse off than the US average. Overall, about 23% of people in the US have untreated decay, but among Latinos the rate ranged from 20% to 35%, with the highest numbers of untreated decay being found among Central Americans.
In terms of missing teeth, Latinos were better off than the overall population. Overall, about 59% of Americans have one or more missing teeth, according to the American college of Prosthodontics. However, in the Latino population, the average was about 57%, although it ranged from a low of about 49.8% for Mexicans to highs around 63.8% for Cubans and Central Americans.
The good news is that this survey shows Latinos are good about getting to the dentist and taking care of their teeth. The bad news is that, like other Americans, they are still in need of considerable care to maintain their teeth or to replace their teeth with dental implants.
If you are looking for a San Diego dentist, please call 619-727-6633 for an appointment at Strober Dental today.