The aim of this study was to evaluate partial and complete tooth loss and some related demographic factors, and oral health behaviors among Turkish elderly. According to recent censuses, elderly population of Turkey is rapidly growing. There is no nationwide information related to edentulism and natural teeth retention among 65-74 year-old people in Turkey. In this nationwide representative cross-sectional study, 1545 subjects aged 65-74 years were evaluated using the proportional stratified cluster sampling method. The data were collected via a structured, pre-tested face to face administered questionnaire and an oral examination. Chi-square test and binary logistic regression analyses were used to determine the significance of explanatory variables. 48.0% of elderly were edentate. The mean DMF-T was 25.8 +/- 8.5. These values were higher in women (p = 0.016), older age (p < 0.001) and rural individuals (p < 0.001). Only 12.4% of the subjects had functional dentition. Age, visiting dentist, and health security were associated with edentulism. Female sex (OR = 1.37), 70-74 age group (OR = 2.08) and illiteracy (OR = 3.25) were the independent factors of not having functional dentition. A reduction in edentulism in elderly may be achieved by the implementation of community programs promoting oral health for the prevention and treatment. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.