Online Program

Factors influencing Mexican-americans engagement in oral health behaviors

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Gerardo Maupome, BDS, MSc, PhD, Indiana University School of Dentistry, Indianapolis, IN
Richard Goldsworthy, PhD, MSEd, Academic Edge, Inc., Bloomington, IN
Odette Aguirre-Zero, DDS, MS, Department of Oral Biology, Indiana University School of Dentistry, Indianapolis, IN
Chi Westerhold, BS, Indiana University School of Dentistry, Indianapolis, IN
Background. Oral health among Mexican Americans (MAs) is often poor. MAs appear to develop a set of norms blending poor preventive care with U.S. norms of high calorie sugary snacks and drinks. This phenomenon is not well understood. Whether, how, and why MAs engage in preventive (self and professional) and urgent treatment remain equally ill-defined.

Methods. We sought to better understand the pervasive oral health issues affecting MAs by creating a culturally appropriate structured interview, following an established behavioral theory, supplemented with standardized questions from the NIDCR/CDC Data Resource Center (e.g. recognizing treatment needs, ascertaining patterns of dental visits, non-clinical factors mediating dental care seeking). The resulting protocol was implemented with adult and adolescent MAs in English or Spanish. Qualitative analysis examined engagement in preventive and therapeutic care and identified factors influencing engagement.

Results. A total of 33 interviews were completed. Analyses of discourse indicates that MAs do not consistently adhere to preventive oral health behaviors; and when MAs access dental care systems, it is often reactive and restricted to an emergency clinical situation. Norms, beliefs, barriers, and supports related to these suboptimal behaviors, as well as three health-positive activities were identified and will be discussed.

Conclusion. MAs frequently engage in suboptimal oral health behaviors. Perceived cost is a key factor, suggesting that intervention efforts be crafted around actual/perceived cost and access to care. Vanity/self-image were also identified as potential motivating factors. Future work should refine instruments and develop quantities models with larger samples to better inform future interventions.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe current oral health disparities among Mexican-Americans (MA), related literature, and the need to better understand the nature of suboptimal care behaviors and factors influencing engagement therein. Discuss qualitative research exploring MA engagement in oral care seeking and oral health self-care behaviors and identify factors supportive of or serving as barriers to positive oral health outcomes.

Keyword(s): Oral Health, Hispanic

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I served as the behavioral research consultant on the project and my colleague Dr. Maupome is has been involved in population based research primarily focused on oral health for 20 years. His main areas of work have been estimating the burden of disease, and characterizing health disparities in population groups who are at high risk of oral diseases. Latino populations have figured prominently in this research agenda.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.