Date of Completion

Spring 5-6-2012

Thesis Advisor(s)

Richard Rockwell


Dental Public Health and Education | Dentistry


Objectives: This study was designed to investigate the dental health status of several communities in Honduras in terms of the DMFT index (decayed missing and filled teeth). Specifically the study focused on comparisons of the Garifuna (a maroon community in Tela) with the people of San Jose, Copan, and others who traveled from other regions to come to a medical clinic. These results were also compared to other populations of developing and developed countries. Through looking at each participant’s DMFT score, many possible correlations to oral health were explored including region, age, gender, snacking, tobacco use, and oral hygiene.

Study Design: A total of 818 adults (199 males and 619 females) with an age range of 18-65 (Mean 38.1 sd 13.5) attending the Medical Ministry International clinic in San Jose in August 2010 or Tela in August 2011 participated in the study. After agreeing to be in the study, participants were asked a list of questions including the subjects’ tobacco use, oral hygiene behaviors, dietary habits, and demographic factors. Descriptive statistics, comparative means, and multiple linear regression analysis were statistical analysis used when necessary.

Results: There were statistically significant differences in DMFT between the Garifuna village and San Jose, gender, age, regular dental visits, and brushing one’s teeth daily. The worst DMFT score was found in the oldest age range, from 51-65. The DMFT score was higher in the Honduran sample population for all age ranges compared to a national survey of adults in the United States. The mean DMFT in San Jose and the outlying areas of Honduras were found to be much higher than the mean DMFT of the Garifuna.

Conclusion: It is concluded that the factors gender, age, region, dental care, and oral hygiene may help to understand the differences seen in DMFT scores, but it is important to note that a more in-depth study of nutrition could be very useful to help explain differences in the mean DMFT of the regions.