Oral disadvantage can be defined as the avoidance of certain daily activities because of decrements in oral health. These decrements include oral disease and tissue damage, pain, and functional limitation. The Florida Dental Care Study (FDCS) is a longitudinal study of changes in oral health, which included at baseline 873 subjects who had at least 1 tooth, were 45 years old or older, and who participated for an interview and clinical examination. Three objectives of the FDCS are: (1) to describe selected psychometric properties of the measurement of oral disadvantage; (2) to describe oral disadvantage in a diverse sample of dentate adults; and (3) to describe the relationship between disadvantage and other aspects of oral health, such as disease/tissue damage, pain, and functional limitation. The prevalence of oral disadvantage within the previous 6 months, using eight self-reported measures, ranged from 5% to 25%, depending upon the measure. Factor analysis suggested that oral disadvantage is best described as three factors: disadvantage due to (1) oral disease/tissue damage, (2) oral pain, and (3) oral functional limitation. Irregular dental attenders, poor persons, and blacks had the highest prevalence of oral disadvantage. Clinical measures of oral disease/tissue damage, self-reported measures of oral disease/tissue damage, oral pain, and oral functional limitation were strongly associated with the presence of oral disadvantage. In multivariate analyses that accounted for differences in clinical measures of disease/tissue damage, self-reported disease/tissue damage, oral pain, and oral functional limitation, females were more likely to report disadvantage due to disease/tissue damage, and middle-aged persons and irregular dental attenders were more likely to report oral disadvantage due to pain. In these same regressions, differences in disadvantage due to race, poverty status, socioeconomic status, and rural/urban area of residence were not evident. These results have implications regarding the use of oral disadvantage to assess the long-term effectiveness of dental care. © Munksgaard, 1997.