LatinaLista — When it comes to Latinos and dental care, well, the stats don’t look good.
According to a fact sheet found at the Hispanic Dental Association:
Twice as many Hispanic children are likely to have untreated dental caries as are non-Hispanic white children.
Oral health differences are present in the adult population; the percentage of untreated oral disease for Hispanics (40 percent) and non-Hispanic blacks (48 percent) was nearly double that for non-Hispanic whites (24 percent) during the same period.
The percentage of children who have never visited a dentist is highest among Mexican children (17.7 percent).
For too many Latino families, the importance of maintaining oral hygiene is not fully understood. The fact that there remains a small percentage of Spanish-speaking dentists graduating from the nation’s dental schools doesn’t help when the Latino population is still growing.
Nor does the escalating costs of dental visits and procedures attract families on tight budgets. That’s why preventive care is so important in communities where dental care is still regarded as a luxury item.
Colgate-Palmolive is partnering with the Hispanic Dental Association in June to improve the dismal statistics regarding Hispanic oral health. Launching their declaration that June is National Oral Health Month, the company is setting up a site in Spanish to educate and promote good oral hygiene. It is also sponsoring nationwide child dental screenings via mobile dental units which will be dispatched throughout the country.
While these initiatives are a start, true progress won’t be made until dental care is made affordable and accessible to all families. Until this happens, dental care will remain seen as a luxury and not a necessity.