OBJECTIVES: This study examined edentulism trends among adults aged 50 and above in five ethnic groups in the United States: Asians, African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and non-Hispanic Caucasians.
METHODS: Data came from the National Health Interview Surveys between 1999 and 2008. Respondents included 616 Native Americans, 2,666 Asians, 15,295 African Americans, 13,068 Hispanics, and 86,755 Caucasians.
RESULTS: In 2008, Native Americans had the highest predicated rate of edentulism (23.98%), followed by African Americans (19.39%), Caucasians (16.90%), Asians (14.22%), and Hispanics (14.18%). Overall, there was a significant downward trend in edentulism rates between 1999 and 2008 (OR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.96, 0.98). However, compared with Caucasians, Native Americans showed a significantly less decline of edentulism during this period (OR = 1.10, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.19).
CONCLUSIONS: While there was a downward trend in edentulism between 1999 and 2008, significant variations existed across racial/ethnic groups. Innovative public health programs and services are essential to prevent oral health diseases and conditions for minority populations who lack access to adequate dental care. Additionally, given the increasing numbers of adults retaining their natural teeth, interventions designed to assist individuals in maintaining healthy teeth becomes more critical.