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Racial and Ethnic Specific Oral Health Data

Fact sheet of baseline data re Healthy People 2010 related to racial and ethnic specific oral health

Racial and Ethnic Specific Oral Health Data

Fact Sheet

Based on Healthy People 2010 baseline data:

African Americans

  • Children aged 2 to 4 years, 26% of African Americans have experienced dental caries in their primary teeth, compared to 20% for Whites, in 2004.
  • African American children are 40% less likely to have preventive dental sealants than do their White classmates.
  • The percentage of people of all ages who had untreated caries was substantially higher for African Americans than for Whites.
  • Among adults aged 35 to 44 years, 40% African Americans as compared to 23% of Whites have tooth decay.
  • African Americans are more likely than Whites to have teeth extracted.
  • Higher levels of gingivitis and periodontal loss of attachment were also seen in African Americans as compared to Whites.
  • A greater percentage of African Americans 18 years and older have missing teeth when compared Whites.
  • African American males have the highest incidence rate of oral cavity and pharyngeal cancers in the United States compared with women and other racial/ethnic groups.
  • In 2004, 30% of African Americans had annual dental visits, as compared to 50% of the White population.


  • Among preschool Hispanic children, early childhood caries is a particular concern.
  • National survey data suggest that a higher proportion of Mexican American children ages 12 to 23 months may experience dental caries than other race/ethnicity groups.
  • Mexican American children aged 2 to 4 are more likely to have experienced dental caries in their primary teeth, have on average more decayed and filled tooth surfaces, and have more untreated disease than either White or African American children.
  • Mexican American children aged 2 to 5 years-especially those from lower-income households-were more likely than their African American and White counterparts to have one or more decayed primary teeth.
  • A national survey found that employed Hispanic adults were twice as likely to have untreated dental caries as Whites.

American Indians/Alaska Natives

  • In general, AI/AN populations have much greater rates of dental caries and periodontal disease in all age groups than the general U.S. population.
  • AI/AN children aged 2 to 4 years have 5 times the rate of dental decay compared to all children, and 6- to 8-year-old AI/AN children have about twice the rate of dental caries experience. Rates for untreated decay in these age groups are 2 to 3 times higher than in the same age groups in the general U.S. population.
  • Periodontal disease in AI/AN adults is 2.5 times greater than in the general U.S. population.
  • The prevalence and the backlog of untreated dental disease are significantly higher among American Indian/Alaska Natives than in the general population.
  • American Indian/Alaska Native children have approximately 3 to 4 times the amount of decay, relative to the U.S. population.
  • Tobacco use, the primary risk factor for oral cancers is high among poor people, especially American Indians/Alaska Natives.
  • The number of cases of periodontal disease is higher than the national average among American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Asians, Native Hawaiians, and Other Pacific Islanders

  • National data for the oral health of Asian, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islander (ANHPI) groups that can be generalized to the U.S. population are not available. Instead the profile of disease and health in this category is only available through studies of specific states and locales. For more information, please contact the Office of Minority Health Resource Center at 1-800-444-6472.

Content Last Modified: 1/24/2008 11:25:00 AM
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