Oral health data collected from a mail survey of an Ontario population of adults aged 18 years and over were used to conduct a preliminary investigation of the incidence and correlates of tooth loss and to explore its functional, psychological and social consequences. Of the sample of 500 dentate subjects, 10 per cent reported losing one or more teeth in the previous year. Comparisons between those with and without tooth loss showed significant differences according to age, household income and place of birth. Those subjects wearing partial dentures, possessing fewer teeth at the start of the study period, or who only attended the dentist when having pain or other trouble, were also more likely to have experienced tooth loss in the preceding year. Logistic regression analysis identified only age as a significant independent risk factor. Subjects who lost teeth were significantly more compromised in their oral functions and psychosocial behaviors, as measured by a battery of subjective oral health indicators. Whether or not these problems were pre-existing or the consequences of losing teeth during the past year cannot be determined from this study. This investigation suggests that tooth loss is still a concern for many Canadian adults, and demonstrates the importance of teeth in their overall well-being.