This report illustrates the social distribution of oral health status in the Australian adult population. It draws links between material, psychosocial and behavioural factors with oral health status. Among adults in the labour force it highlights links between socially produced work conditions and oral health status. It looks back in time to social and psychosocial conditions of childhood and links those experiences with contemporaneous outcomes in adulthood. This thought-provoking publication leaves one wondering to what extent society should help people cope with the social conditions of their lives and to what extent those social conditions themselves should be addressed to improve oral health.