Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Health Sciences

First Committee Member

Chad Cross, Chair

Second Committee Member

Timothy Bungum

Third Committee Member

Michelle Chino

Graduate Faculty Representative

William Davenport

Number of Pages



Dental caries is present worldwide and has afflicted over 90% of all adults in the United States. Biological determinants of the disease are well understood but social determinants and how they interact with biological factors are not. Programs designed to reduce incidence and prevalence of caries often target certain individuals and involve behavioral change. Some programs are more successful when environmental and societal issues are also addressed (Watt, 2002). Biological and behavioral processes leading to caries should include the modification of social factors to enhance results of prevention programs designed to reduce caries in populations. Preventing disease comes not only from treating individuals but also from the modification of environmental factors facilitating disease occurrence along with community education.

This project examined whether the relationship between the prevalence of dental caries among patients at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine and the number of fast-food and convenience stores within a one-half mile and one mile distance from their place of residence. One goal was to map the distribution of caries for the dental school patient population by geographic region using their place of residence.

The other goal was to determine if a relationship existed between prevalence of dental caries in patients and the location of fast-food and convenience stores based on geographic data. It is anticipated that future research will provide an exploration of the social determinants of caries in the dental school patient population and development of programs designed to reduce oral health disease and inequalities. Analysis of the demographics and caries percentage of the dental school patient population revealed patients live across the entire Las Vegas community and dental caries is widespread. Combined with the significant relationship between convenience stores within one mile of patient residence and caries percentage, this information should aid future research and dental school patient education.


Caries; Convenience; Dental; Dental caries; Epidemiology; Restaurants; Stores; Teeth — Care and hygiene – Social aspects


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Dental Public Health and Education | Dentistry | Epidemiology | Public Health

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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