Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Acculturation may strongly influence use of or access to health services among Hispanics in the United States. We assessed the relationships between acculturation and use of oral health services among Hispanic adults in the United States.
METHODS: Data were analyzed from Hispanic adults aged 18 years or older who participated in the 2006 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Hispanics were defined by self-report of Spanish or Hispanic heritage. Preference to be interviewed in English or Spanish was used as a proxy for acculturation. Having had a dental visit in the previous 12 months was used as a proxy for use of oral health services.
RESULTS: English-speaking Hispanics were more likely to have had a dental visit in the previous 12 months compared with Spanish-speaking Hispanics (crude odds ratio [OR], 1.52; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.36-1.71). After controlling for potential confounders, language was not significantly associated with having had a dental visit (OR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.87-1.26; P = .61,). The most significant predictors for having had a dental visit in the previous 12 months were sex, education, income, and having health insurance.
CONCLUSION: Acculturation assessed by language spoken was not significantly associated with having had a dental visit in the previous 12 months among adult Hispanics in the United States. The common determinants of health care use, such as sex, income, level of education, and health insurance status, were the most significant predictors of use of oral health services among adult Hispanics.