Racial and ethnic disparities in children's oral health: the National Survey of Children's Health.

Thomas Dietrich, C Culler, RI Garcia, MM Henshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The authors evaluated racial/ethnic differences and their socioeconomic determinants in the oral health status of U.S. children, as reported by parents. METHODS: The authors used interview data from the 2003 National Survey of Children's Health, a large representative survey of U.S. children. They calculated weighted, nationally representative prevalence estimates for non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics, and they used logistic regression to explore the association between parents' reports of fair or poor oral health and various socioeconomic determinants of oral health. RESULTS: The results showed significant racial/ethnic differences in parental reports of fair or poor oral health, with prevalences of 6.5 percent for non-Hispanic whites, 12.0 percent for non-Hispanic blacks and 23.4 percent for Hispanics. Although adjustments for family socioeconomic status (poverty level and education) partially explained these racial/ethnic disparities, Hispanics still were twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to report their children's oral health as fair or poor, independent of socioeconomic status. The authors did find differences in preventive-care attitudes among groups. However, in multivariate models, such differences did not explain the disparities. CONCLUSIONS: Significant racial/ethnic disparities exist in parental reports of their children's oral health, with Hispanics being the most disadvantaged group. Disparities appear to exist independent of preventive-care attitudes and socioeconomic status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1507-17
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2008


  • Disparities
  • health services research


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