The distribution of population OHRQoL follows a socioeconomic gradient. It is not coincidental that health inequalities mirror social inequalities. However, although correlated with oral health outcomes, income per se does not produce social inequality in subjective oral health. To advance the understanding of the social determinants of OHRQoL, this study examined a series of social determinants found in general health research to be strongly related to health outcomes. Results showed that personal control, stress, and social support were linked to income, dentally relevant behaviours and OHRQoL.

Findings have implications for oral health promotion at both individual and societal levels. Understanding the factors that influence self-care and the use of dental services can inform behavioural interventions. In addition, the finding that social determinants of general health are also associated with oral health has implications for a common risk factor approach that takes a broader socioenvironmental view of the factors influencing health.