UMMS Affiliation

Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Dentistry | Epidemiology | Health Services Research | Stomatognathic Diseases | Translational Medical Research


Objectives: This study sought to provide population-based estimates of complete tooth loss and recent dental visits among older adults in the United States by English language proficiency.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the 2017 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey among participants 50 years of age (n = 10,452, weighted to represent 111,895,290 persons). Five categories of language proficiency were created based on self-reported English language ability and language spoken at home (Spanish, Other).

Results: The prevalence of complete tooth loss was higher among those with limited English proficiency (Spanish speaking: 13.7%; Other languages: 16.9%) than those proficient in English (Spanish speaking: 5.0%; Other languages: 6.0%, English only: 12.0%). Complete tooth loss was less common among participants for whom Spanish was their primary language, with limited English proficiency relative to English only (adjusted odds ratio: 0.56; 95% confidence interval: 0.42-0.76). Among those without complete tooth loss, dental visits in the past year were less common among participants with primary language other than English as compared to those who only speak English.

Conclusions: Complete tooth loss varied by English language proficiency among adults aged 50 years in the United States. Suboptimal adherence to annual dental visits was common, more so in those with complete tooth loss, and varied by English language proficiency.


Spanish, complete tooth loss, edentulism, limited English proficiency, UMCCTS funding

Rights and Permissions

Copyright The Author(s) 2020. Creative Commons CC BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (

DOI of Published Version



Foiles Sifuentes AM, Castaneda-Avila MA, Lapane KL. English language proficiency, complete tooth loss, and recent dental visits among older adults in the United States. SAGE Open Med. 2020 Oct 7;8:2050312120962995. doi: 10.1177/2050312120962995. PMID: 33101680; PMCID: PMC7550941. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

SAGE open medicine

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.