Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Health

First Advisor's Name

Elena Bastida

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Virginia McCoy

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Jessy Dévieux

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Mario De la Rosa

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Jesus Sanchez

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Oral Health, Minority Health, Public Health, Dental Public Health, Mixed-Methods

Date of Defense



This mixed-methods study examined patterns of dental health care utilization in adult Hispanic migrant farmworkers (AHMFW) with special emphasis on non-compliance with the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) recommendation of visiting the dentist at least once a year; while also exploring the group’s social and cultural construction of oral health.

A total of 278 farmworkers responded to a close ended survey. Binary and hierarchical logistic regression analysis were employed in identifying predisposing, enabling, and needs factors associated with non-compliance. Following the survey, fourteen ethnographic interviews were conducted with respondents who volunteered to participate in this phase of the study.

Most participants (79.5%) were non-compliant with the ADA and the ADHA recommendation. Binary logistic regression results indicated that AHFW reporting need for dental treatment were compliant with the recommendation. In contrast, those who brushed their teeth more often, experienced oral health impact, and reported poor perception of their mouth condition were non-compliant. Hierarchical logistic regression results pointed to those who used floss and reported need for dental treatment as compliant with the recommendation. Participants reporting poor perception of their mouth condition were non-compliant. Eight themes emerged from the qualitative analysis (understanding of the mouth, meaning of oral health, history of dental care; dental problems, barriers to dental care, caring of the teeth/mouth, medications, oral health quality of life).

Farmworkers were knowledgeable of oral health, however, this knowledge, particularly the practice of brushing twice a day, made them less likely to seek regular dental care. Ultimately, a dental visit hinged on their limited finances, lack of dental insurance, and family responsibilities. Together, these decreased access to preventive dental services and increased risk of experiencing oral health problems.





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