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Panel of Experts Outlines Steps for Overcoming Oral Health Barriers Facing the U.S. Hispanic Community

Posted on Wednesday, October 9, 2013

BOCA RATON, Fla.--()--The Hispanic Dental Association Foundation (HDAF), together with Crest® and Oral-B®, convened a roundtable of leading dental professionals, oral health researchers and policy makers to discuss why U.S. Hispanics, one of the nation’s fastest-growing populations,1 lags behind other Americans in many aspects of oral health. Participants identified clear goals to break down the barriers that currently prevent Hispanics from maximizing oral health services in their local communities. The roundtable discussion took place during the Hispanic Dental Association’s 2012 Annual Meeting, which is part of a multicultural oral health summit in Boca Raton, Fla.

The discussion explored eye-opening findings from a 2011 survey led by the HDAF and sponsored by Crest and Oral-B. Of note, the survey found that the majority of U.S. Hispanics 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.2

“The survey was a critical starting point for raising awareness of the gaps in oral health knowledge and access to care among U.S. Hispanics. Now is the time to face these challenges head on,” said Sarita Arteaga, DMD, MAGD and spokesperson for the HDAF. “The experts agreed that while dental professionals may serve on the front line of oral health care, it is up to the entire community to take a more active role to ensure Hispanics have meaningful short- and long-term access to good oral care and education.”

Roundtable Outcomes

To address Hispanics’ barriers and knowledge gaps, the roundtable participants identified the following priorities:

  • Close the communication gaps between dental professionals and medical practitioners through continuing education programs and open dialogues at relevant meetings and professional conventions.

  • Educate patients on the consequences of poor oral hygiene and the benefits of home care and prevention by creating culturally relevant learning opportunities through community gathering centers.

  • Identify local ambassadors to amplify the oral health message and serve as the coach in their community’s oral health routine.

“It was a great honor to be able to speak among such impressive minds in the field of oral health care,” said Dr. Armando Sanchez, a dentist in Clewiston, Fla. “We each serve the Hispanic community from different angles but we came together and agree that a successful change in oral health requires continual dialogue between patients and community health leaders. A vital next step is to execute programs and policies that will improve basic knowledge about the importance of oral health.”

The HDAF, Crest and Oral-B will be making a donation to the Caridad Center on behalf of roundtable participants for their work to improve the state of oral health among U.S. Hispanics. The Caridad Center is a free dental clinic serving Palm Beach County’s underprivileged population including local Hispanic families.

The survey which prompted the roundtable, “Hispanics Open Up About Oral Health Care,” was conducted in 2011 among 1,000 Hispanic adults and 1,000 adults from the general population aged 18 and older who live in the continental U.S. Highlights from this research include:

  • 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.

  • Nearly one in five (18%) Hispanics 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.2

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®, 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.

“Hispanics Open Up About Oral Health Care” 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.


1. U.S. Census as of July 1, 2010.

2. GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications, Hispanic Dental Association, Crest and Oral-B. “Hispanics Open Up About Oral Health Care.” 2011.

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