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BMC Public Health. 2020 Jan 28;20(1):111. doi: 10.1186/s12889-019-8045-x.

Acculturation and the oral health of a nationally representative sample of Hispanic children in the United States: an analysis of 2011-2012 National Survey of Children's Health data.

Author information

1
Caruth School of Dental Hygiene, Texas A&M University College of Dentistry, 3302 Gaston Avenue, Suite 136, Dallas, TX, 75246, USA.
2
Department of Health Behavior and Health Systems; School of Public Health, University of North Texas Health Science Center, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX, 76107, USA. Erica.Stockbridge@unthsc.edu.
3
Department of Advanced Health Analytics and Solutions; Magellan Health, Inc., 4800 N. Scottsdale Rd. #4400, Scottsdale, AZ, 85251, USA. Erica.Stockbridge@unthsc.edu.
4
Department of Health Behavior and Health Systems; School of Public Health, University of North Texas Health Science Center, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX, 76107, USA.
5
SaferCare Texas; University of North Texas Health Science Center, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX, 76107, USA.
6
Department of Advanced Health Analytics and Solutions; Magellan Health, Inc., 4800 N. Scottsdale Rd. #4400, Scottsdale, AZ, 85251, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Oral disease is a serious public health issue, and Hispanic children in the United States (US) are more likely than children of other racial/ethnic groups to experience dental caries. Although Hispanic children are a growing segment of the US population there is limited research on the association between acculturation and oral health outcomes in this population. This study examined the associations between household acculturation and pediatric oral health in the Hispanic population using a nationally representative sample of children.

METHODS:

Data from the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children's Health were analyzed; analyses included Hispanic children ages 1 to 17. Household acculturation was assessed with a combination of language and parental nativity, while oral health was assessed via parents'/guardians' reports of children's dental caries. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between acculturation and oral health, adjusting for other demographic and social determinants of pediatric oral health. We assessed significance at the p < 0.05 level, and all analyses accounted for the survey's complex sample design.

RESULTS:

Analyses included 9143 Hispanic children. In total, 24.9% (95% CI: 22.9-27.0%) experienced dental caries, and there were significant associations between household acculturation and oral health. In unadjusted analyses, 32.0% (95% CI: 28.9-35.4%) of children in low acculturation households, 20.3% (95% CI: 16.0-25.4%) of children in moderate acculturation households, and 16.9% (95% CI: 14.2-20.0%) of children in high acculturation households experienced dental caries (p < 0.001). In adjusted analyses, children in high acculturation households were significantly less likely than those in low acculturation households to experience dental caries (p < 0.001; OR = 0.50; 95% CI: 0.35-0.70). The difference between children in moderate and low acculturation households approached but did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.057; OR = 0.69; 95% CI: 0.48-1.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

A dose-response relationship was observed between household acculturation and the oral health of Hispanic children in the US. As acculturation increases, the likelihood of a child experiencing dental caries decreases. These findings suggest that public health and community-based interventions intended to reduce oral health disparities in Hispanic children would likely be most impactful if the acculturation levels of the children's households are considered during program development.

KEYWORDS:

Acculturation; Children; Dental caries; Disparities; Hispanic; Latino; Oral health; Pediatric health; Social determinants

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