The Survey of the U.S. Hispanic Population and What It Means for Dental Care

At Elba Garcia Dental Clinic , we are committed to providing equal access to oral health care across our Dallas community. One way we do this is to offer bilingual English and Spanish services to serve our Hispanic population. A 2010 survey of the Hispanic population in the U.S. revealed important gaps in dental care that we strive each day to close.

What are the top barriers for dental care for Hispanic patients?

The survey identified three common barriers to care in Hispanic communities:

  • Knowledge gaps
  • Access to affordable dental care
  • Language barriers

These barriers were identified by multiple telling statistics gathered from survey responses:

  • Approximately 30% of Hispanics questioned in the survey believed that cavities go away without treatment or said they didn’t know if cavities needed dental fillings.
  • About 45% of Hispanics do not have dental insurance. One in five Hispanic patients have not visited the dentist within the past two years.
  • 60% say that having more access to Spanish-language dental services would help them improve their oral health.

A lack of knowledge about available services or the processes for seeking insurance and payment assistance also impacted care. This is especially true among immigrant families, who tend to view their families as single units and don’t realize that if one person in the family doesn’t qualify for a specific service that other family members may.

What can be done?

Multiple dental organizations have made recommendations for improving access to dental services for Hispanic families. Because the Hispanic population is forecast to grow much more quickly in the coming decades than other groups, failing to address these issues could lead to a serious public health crisis. Some of the strategies that may help include:

  • Increased community education about available healthcare programs for family members of different ages and circumstances.
  • More Spanish-language dental care providers. At Elba Garcia Dental Clinic, we are pleased to offer bilingual services to our patients.
  • Increased availability of Spanish-language oral health educational information.

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