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J Am Dent Assoc. 2014 Jun;145(6):531-40. doi: 10.14219/jada.2014.25.

The prevalence of caries and tooth loss among participants in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos.

Author information

  • 1Dr. Beck is the executive associate dean and a distinguished professor, Department of Dental Ecology, School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1617 Koury Oral Health Sciences Building, CB 7450, 385 S. Columbia St., Chapel Hill, N.C. 27599-7450, e-mail Address correspondence to Dr. Beck.
  • 2Mr. Youngblood is the project director, the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, and manager of statistics at the Collaborative Studies Coordinating Center, Department of Biostatistics, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
  • 3Dr. Atkinson is the director, Center for Clinical Research, Division of Extramural Research, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, Bethesda, Md.
  • 4Dr. Mauriello is a professor, Department of Dental Ecology, School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • 5Dr. Kaste is an associate professor, Department of Pediatric Dentistry, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago.
  • 6Dr. Badner is an associate professor, Department of Dentistry; an associate professor, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health; and the director, General Practice at Jacobi Medical Center, Department of Dentistry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, N.Y.
  • 7Dr. Beaver is the director, Dental Hygiene Program, Stanford Brown College, Skokie, Ill.
  • 8Dr. Becerra is a dentist in private practice in San Ysidro, Calif., and a clinical lead, Gary and Mary West Health Institute, San Diego.
  • 9Dr. Singer is an assistant professor and a postgraduate director, Department of Orthodontics, College of Dental Medicine, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale-Davie, Fla.

Erratum in

  • J Am Dent Assoc. 2014 Jul;145(7):703.



The Hispanic and Latino population is projected to increase from 16.7 percent to 30.0 percent by 2050. Previous U.S. national surveys had minimal representation of Hispanic and Latino participants other than Mexicans, despite evidence suggesting that Hispanic or Latino country of origin and degree of acculturation influence health outcomes in this population. In this article, the authors describe the prevalence and mean number of cavitated, decayed and filled surfaces, missing teeth and edentulism among Hispanics and Latinos of different national origins.


Investigators in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL)-a multicenter epidemiologic study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute with funds transferred from six other institutes, including the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research-conducted in-person examinations and interviews with more than 16,000 participants aged 18 to 74 years in four U.S. cities between March 2008 and June 2011. The investigators identified missing, filled and decayed teeth according to a modified version of methods used in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The authors computed prevalence estimates (weighted percentages), weighted means and standard errors for measures.


The prevalence of decayed surfaces ranged from 20.2 percent to 35.5 percent, depending on Hispanic or Latino background, whereas the prevalence of decayed and filled surfaces ranged from 82.7 percent to 87.0 percent, indicating substantial amounts of dental treatment. The prevalence of missing teeth ranged from 49.8 percent to 63.8 percent and differed according to Hispanic or Latino background. Significant differences in the mean number of decayed surfaces, decayed or filled surfaces and missing teeth according to Hispanic and Latino background existed within each of the age groups and between women and men.


Oral health status differs according to Hispanic or Latino background, even with adjustment for age, sex and other characteristics.


These data indicate that Hispanics and Latinos in the United States receive restorative dental treatment and that practitioners should consider the association between Hispanic or Latino origin and oral health status. This could mean that dental practices in areas dominated by patients from a single Hispanic or Latino background can anticipate a practice based on a specific pattern of treatment needs.


Hispanic; Latino; caries; tooth loss

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