BACKGROUND. Although self-assessments of oral health have become useful tools in dental research, the use of self-reports to study changes in oral health over time has been limited. The aim of this investigation was to describe how oral disease and tissue damage, pain, functional limitation, disadvantage, and self-rated oral health change over time. METHODS. The Florida Dental Care Study (FDCS) (H = 873) is a longitudinal study of oral health among dentate adults (age, ≥ 45 years). Incidence rates and transition probabilities were used to describe changes in oral health over a 24-month period. RESULTS. The probability of reporting a specific problem during the 24-month study ranged from 0.52 for perceived need for dental care to 0.07 for avoided eating with others. Only dental sensitivity and perceived need for dental care had transition probabilities >0.20. Decomposition of transition probabilities revealed moderate probabilities of onset coupled with relatively .high probabilities of recovery. CONCLUSION. Although oral health status is clearly dynamic, no individual measure exhibited profound fluctuation. Most oral health problems were episodic rather than chronic. Patterns of change in oral health varied across dimensional lines.