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Am J Public Health. 1990 Dec;80 Suppl:66-70.

The prevalence of total tooth loss, dental caries, and periodontal disease among Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans, and Puerto Ricans: findings from HHANES 1982-1984.

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Division of Community Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


This paper describes the prevalence of total tooth loss, dental caries, and periodontal disease in 2,226 Puerto Ricans, 1,192 Cuban Americans, and 5,983 Mexican Americans, ages five to 74 years, who were examined during the 1982-84 Hispanic Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HHANES). The prevalence of total tooth loss was 2.60, 6.10, and 2.80 percent among Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans, and Puerto Ricans, respectively. After adjusting for the confounding effects of age, sex, income, and education status, no statistically significant differences were found in the mean number of decayed teeth among the three groups of Hispanics. Puerto Rican children had an average of 2.09 filled teeth compared with an average of 1.39 and 1.43 filled teeth for Mexican Americans and Cuban Americans, respectively. In adults, Puerto Ricans and Cuban Americans had at least 40 percent higher mean number of filled teeth than Mexican Americans. Cuban American and Puerto Rican adults had about twice as many missing teeth as Mexican Americans. The pit-and-fissure tooth surfaces in children accounted for the majority of sites affected by caries. All Hispanics had a higher prevalence of gingivitis than American adults as estimated during the 1985-86 National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) survey of American adults. Puerto Ricans had the highest level of periodontal disease and the highest Debris Index scores among the Hispanic groups.

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