Summary In 2012, persons over age 65 reached 24.1% of Japan's population, and this population will continue to grow. The relationship between oral health and general health has been examined in many studies, geriatric dentistry in particular. An increasing need for long-term care for older adults is expected with the ageing of Japan's population. This will result in escalating costs for these services; thus, we are now prompted to identify predictors for eligibility for long-term care funding. Recent studies have revealed that many factors of oral health are associated with general health conditions. Of these, we focused on factors responsible for a decline in functional capacity that could facilitate long-term care certification. In the present review, we examine the relationships between oral conditions and general conditions, i.e. nutrition, physical performance, functional capacity, the need for long-term care, and longevity. Associations between oral and general condition have been established in many cross-sectional studies, and a number of longitudinal studies have shown associations between the need for long-term care, longevity, and some oral health factors including dentition status and masticatory ability. Further studies are required to show influence of oral health at the early stage of ageing on subsequent healthy life expectancy.