Objectives. An understanding of the validity and usefulness of self-reported measures (as distinct from clinically determined measures) of oral health is emerging. These self-reported measures include self-rated oral health (SROH). Three objectives were to: (1) describe self-rated oral health in dentate adults, (2) quantify associations between self-rated oral health and other measures of oral health (oral disease and tissue damage, pain and discomfort, functional limitation, and disadvantage), and (3) assess the construct validity of a model of oral health proposed herein. Methods. The Florida Dental Care Study is a longitudinal study of oral health, which included at baseline 873 subjects who had at least one tooth, were 45 years or older, and who participated for an interview and clinical examination. Results. The prevalence of self-rated oral health decrements was substantial; approximately one fourth of subjects reported their oral health as only fair or poor. Bivariate and multivariate results provided consistent evidence of the construct validity of the proposed model of oral health. Additionally, the salience of one measure of dental appearance suggests that persons may use esthetic cues when rating their oral health. Conclusions. The proposed multidimensional model of oral health has construct validity. Self-rated oral health is affected by oral disease and tissue damage, oral pain and discomfort, oral functional limitation, and oral disadvantage. These self-reported measures and the proposed model should provide useful information for dental care effectiveness research. General health status has been disaggregated into the "physical" and the "mental;" an additional separation into the "oral" aspects of health seems warranted.