The purpose of this study was to develop a battery of dental, nutritional and psychological health survey measures and to use this survey instrument to explore links between age, tooth loss and dietary risk. The survey was undertaken in a dental school and hospital. Forty-nine consecutive patients ( age range 25 - 74 years) participated in this pilot study and completed the health survey instrument. A quarter of the patients reported changing dietary habits due to dental problems, 56% reported difficulty in chewing as a result of problems with their teeth or dentures, and 36% reported having to interrupt meals due to dental difficulties. Tooth number was associated with MNA scores ( 0.35, P = 0.03, Pearson's correlation coefficient) and reported number of foods eaten (0.33, P = 0.04, Pearson's correlation coefficient) from the questionnaire checklist. Lower MNA scores were associated with age (F = 6.54; d. f. = 1, 46; P < 0.01) indicating that older adults were more at risk of poor nutritional status. Overall health was not rated as an important factor influencing food choice, and only 14% of the sample felt that they had nutritional problems. Poor diet and impaired food choice was associated with declining numbers of teeth and increasing age. Older adults may require dietary advice to increase awareness of the importance of a healthy diet.