Oral health is part of general health, and is recognized as an essential component of quality of life (QoL). For years, oral health was determined solely by the clinic, which did not allow an evaluation of the true impact of oral diseases on the patients’ daily lives. The development of instruments for assessing QoL related to oral health has occurred due to the urgency of determining the effects of changes in the oral cavity of individuals. This study aims, through a bibliographical survey, to describe issues involving the relationship between QoL and oral health focusing on methodological and conceptual aspects as well as considering how oral health of adult individuals affects their QoL in a general way. Research in this area has developed the concept of “quality of life related to oral health”, which comprises four categories: functional factors, psychological factors, social factors and existence of discomfort or pain. The negative impacts that poor oral health of the population have on their QoL makes this issue a relevant problem for public health. Although most oral problems do not represent an immediate risk of death, they are responsible for decreasing the QoL of individuals as they prolong states of pain and suffering, and cause functional, aesthetic, nutritional and psychological problems. Actions focused on health education with emphasis on self-perception, self-protection and self-care should be explored. Programs based on equity seeking to reduce inequalities and their negative effects on people’s QoL should also be explored.