Objectives. We sought to understand the role of Latino acculturation in dental care utilization in Iowa children.
Methods. We used logistic regression to evaluate factors associated with having a previous-year dental check-up with 2005 Iowa Child and Family Household Health Survey data. We constructed models to examine the association with race/ethnicity and used chosen interview language to measure Latino acculturation.
Results. After we controlled for several factors, having a regular dental care source, having a dental need, dental insurance status, family income, children’s dental health rating, children’s age, and brushing habits were associated with having a previous-year dental check-up. Race/ethnicity was indirectly associated with use of dental services through other related factors with significant differences for less-acculturated Latinos.
Conclusions. Policymakers and health planners should implement strategies to address individual, community, and system factors affecting racial/ethnic minorities. A regular source of dental care for Latino children that will enhance their access to services should be ensured. Ignoring the needs of the fastest growing segment of children with the poorest oral health and the least access to care will lead to future increase of oral diseases in this population.