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Survey of U.S. Hispanic Population Reveals Gaps in Oral Health Knowledge and Access to Care

The Hispanic Dental Association and Crest® and Oral-B® Announce Findings at HDA Annual Meeting

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The majority of Hispanics in the United States (U.S.) believe more information about good oral health habits, access to affordable oral health care, and more Hispanic and Spanish-speaking dentists and dental hygienists in their communities would help them “a lot” in achieving better oral health. These findings -- from a national survey led by the Hispanic Dental Association (HDA) and sponsored by Procter & Gamble (P&G) brands Crest® and Oral-B® -- were presented for the first time yesterday at the Opening Ceremony of the HDA Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

The survey examined U.S. Hispanics’ perceptions and attitudes about oral health care, barriers toward achieving good oral health and the role of influencers in passing along oral health habits. The survey, “Hispanics Open Up About Oral Health Care,” is part of an initiative by the HDA, Crest and Oral-B to raise the profile of the state of oral health among Hispanics, the fastest-growing minority group in the country, representing 16 percent of the total U.S. population.1 The survey was conducted among 1,000 Hispanic adults and 1,000 adults from the general population aged 18 and older who live in the continental U.S.

“As we can see from the survey findings, there is still a need within the Hispanic community for more Spanish-speaking dental heath professionals,” said Sarita Arteaga, DMD, MAGD and spokesperson for the HDA. “Further, with oral health literacy a concern for this population and family serving as key influencers, it is imperative that we improve the communication between these professionals and patients to ensure that the right teachings are being passed along to future generations.”

Top barriers to better oral health among Hispanics

The survey found that knowledge gaps (oral health literacy), high cost (access to affordable care and insurance) and language/culture differences (Hispanic/Spanish-speaking dental health professionals) are barriers to many Hispanics in achieving good oral health. Specifically, the results found:

  • When asked if cavities will go away on their own if you brush regularly, almost one-third of Hispanics (30%) responded that they believe this statement is true or did not know the answer, when in fact the statement is false. About half or more Hispanics also incorrectly answered true/false statements or were uncertain about the importance of brushing versus flossing, whether bleeding is normal during brushing, and if mouthwash provides oral health benefits beyond just freshening breath.
  • Close to half (45%) of Hispanics lack dental insurance and nearly one in five (18%) have not visited the dentist at all in the past two years, compared to 12 percent of the general population.
  • Approximately six in 10 Hispanics feel that a higher representation of Spanish-speaking and Hispanic dentists/hygienists in their community would help them “a lot” in achieving and maintaining better oral health.

Other survey findings include:

  • While most Hispanics, as well as the general population, rated their overall oral health as excellent or good, Hispanics experience more oral health problems.
    • 65 percent of Hispanics said they experienced at least one oral health issue in the past year versus 53 percent of the general population. For more than one-third of Hispanics (36%), oral health problems experienced in the past year were severe enough to impact their daily activities, compared to 22 percent of the general population.
  • Among Hispanic parents, many of these same knowledge gaps exist, as does the desire for more oral health information. Yet, eight in 10 Hispanic parents (82%) consider themselves an excellent or a good source for teaching their children about oral health habits.
  • Aside from their dentist, Hispanics rely mostly on their parents and physician for oral health education and information.

“Crest and Oral-B are thrilled to partner with the HDA on this initiative to help shed light on oral health care practices among Hispanics in the U.S. and identify existing challenges,” said Ivan Lugo, DMD, MBA and P&G spokesperson. “This survey uncovered key gaps that can help provide the oral health care community with a concrete starting point from which to turn awareness into action.”

The HDA, Crest and Oral-B are committed to working together to improve the state of oral health among the growing U.S. Hispanic population. As a first step following the survey, the HDA, Crest and Oral-B have collaborated on an informational brochure highlighting key facts and debunking top misperceptions about oral care that will be placed in dental offices and other public areas nationwide.

For more information about the survey, please visit and

Survey Methodology

GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications conducted the survey from July 28 – August 24, 2011. GfK Roper surveyed 1,000 Hispanic adults and 1,000 adults from the general population aged 18 and older who live in the continental U.S. Survey results were balanced to ensure that the age, gender, education and region of the participants reflected the Hispanic population and overall population in the U.S. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary by more than plus or minus three percentage points from the result if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample. In other words, the margin of error is +/-3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

About the Hispanic Dental Association (HDA)

The Hispanic Dental Association is a national, non-profit organization comprised of oral health professionals and students dedicated to promoting and improving the oral health of the Hispanic community and providing advocacy for Hispanic oral health professionals across the U.S. The Association works with a wide spectrum of individuals and organizations to communicate to Hispanic and non-Hispanic dental professionals, students and the public.

About Procter & Gamble (P&G)

P&G touches and improves the lives of about 4.4 billion people around the world with its portfolio of trusted, quality brands. The Company's leadership brands include Pampers®, Tide®, Ariel®, Always®, Whisper®, Pantene®, Mach3®, Bounty®, Dawn®, Fairy®, Gain®, Pringles®, Charmin®, Downy®, Lenor®, Iams®, Crest®, Oral-B®, Duracell®, Olay®, Head & Shoulders®, Wella®, Gillette®, Braun®, Fusion®, Ace®, Febreze®, and Ambi Pur®. With operations in about 80 countries, P&G brands are available in more than 180 countries worldwide. Please visit for the latest news and in-depth information about P&G and its brands.

About Crest

A trusted leader in oral health, Crest was the first oral care brand to secure the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance for a clinically proven fluoride toothpaste. Since first introducing fluoride toothpaste 54 years ago, it is estimated that Crest has helped prevent more than half a billion cavities in the U.S. Headquartered in Cincinnati, OH, Crest is owned and distributed by Procter & Gamble.

About Oral-B

Oral-B is the worldwide leader in the over $5 billion brushing market. Part of Procter & Gamble, the brand includes manual and power toothbrushes for children and adults, oral irrigators and interdental products, such as dental floss. Oral-B toothbrushes are used by more dentists in the world than any other brand.

1 U.S. Census as of July 1, 2010

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An audio message about the survey - English
An audio message about the survey - English
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