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Why You Dream About Your Teeth Falling Out
Despite common theories involving death and loss, dreams about losing your teeth are likely more related to dental irritation during sleep and overall mental health.
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Dreaming About Your Teeth Falling Out? Here’s What it Could Mean
Updated June 17, 2022
Written byJay Summer, Staff Writer
Medically Reviewed byDr. Abhinav Singh, Sleep PhysicianFact Checked
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Have you ever dreamt about your teeth falling out? Perhaps you’ve even had this dream more than once. It’s reasonable to feel a little disturbed after such a dream. You might wake up wondering if there’s a deeper meaning that your subconscious is trying to tell you. Perhaps this dream is accompanied by a feeling of a loss of control, or brings up worries about losing something or someone important to you. Perhaps the dream reminds you that it’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist, and you’re feeling anxious about your dental health.
If you’ve had a dream like this, you’re not alone. Research exploring common dream themes tells us that 39% of the population has experienced dreams about their teeth falling out, rotting, or breaking1, at least one time in their lives. Recurrent teeth dreams are reported by 16.2% of sleepers, and 8.2% report having teeth dreams regularly.
A particularly vivid dream of teeth falling out may naturally raise concerns about your health, well-being, or sleep quality. But whether you’re feeling alarmed after your own unsettling teeth dream or simply curious about why these types of dreams occur, it is important to know that teeth dreams likely do not mean anything serious.
Nevertheless, dreams about teeth trauma are strikingly common. Various cultures, religions, and individuals have offered frameworks for interpreting these types of dreams, but the topic has historically been approached with more superstition than science.
Why Do We Dream About Our Teeth Falling Out?
People have been guessing about the meaning of dreams for as long as humans have been around. From writers of Jewish texts like the Torah and Talmud to Ancient Egyptian and Greek philosophers, many thinkers originally believed dreams to be a means of communication from the divine. Dreams about teeth falling out were also thought to prophesy events, ranging from paying off debts to losing a loved one.
Over the course of history, these themes of loss and death have been consistent in many other interpretations. Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung both believed dreams to be symbols of deep psychological significance, and their influence has shaped many ideas about teeth dreams. It may come as no surprise that Freud believed dreams about teeth falling out were signs of subconscious sexual needs and fears. He did, however, recognize the possibility that they could be related to dental stimulation. From a scientific perspective, this seems much more plausible, but the idea was not scientifically pursued.
More recently, one aspect that puzzles scientific thinkers is that teeth dreams do not fit into the continuity hypothesis about dreaming. The continuity hypothesis asserts that the content of our dreams reflects the content of our waking thoughts and experiences. While dreaming about your teeth rotting or falling out can be a shocking experience, it isn’t something many people go through in waking life.
Currently, many ideas about teeth dreams are based on old superstitions that lingered. And, although these ideas have not been confirmed by science, they may still prime us to feel worried or anxious should we have a dream about our teeth falling out.
Is There a Scientific Explanation for Dreams About Losing Your Teeth?
Unfortunately, not many scientists have directly studied dreams about losing your teeth. In response to the lack of empirical evidence about teeth dreams, two researchers have delved deeply into the topic. Rozen and Soffer-Dubek from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, conducted a research study to better understand the potential relationship between teeth dreams, psychological distress, dental irritation, and sleep quality.
First, they recognized the two overarching themes of interpretation emerging from history and formed their hypotheses — are teeth dreams a symbolic manifestation of psychological distress, or are they a product of our brains incorporating dental stimulation into our sleep? To investigate, they enrolled undergraduate students to answer measures about dream themes, psychological distress, dental irritation, and sleep quality. The two key items they used to measure dental irritation were teeth tension, defined as a feeling of tenderness after waking, and teeth grinding during sleep.
The study found that teeth dreams correlated to teeth tension, but they did not correlate to teeth grinding. To interpret this finding, the researchers suggest that many people may not be aware that they grind their teeth during sleep, but they would still be aware of the tender feeling when they awoke. Interestingly, teeth dreams were not related to any problems with sleep or mental health. The study also did not find any correlation between teeth tension and other types of dreams.
Teeth Falling Out in Your Dreams: What Does it Mean?
Ever dreamed your teeth were falling out? You're not alone. It's a common dream experienced by many. Here's a summary of the most common expert interpretations of this dream.
Teeth Falling Out in Your Dreams: What Does it Mean?
Anna July 13, 2018
All of your teeth fall out. And then you wake up.
Has this ever happened to you? And, after you woke up, did you re-examine your oral care regimen? It's not uncommon. Yet, there’s a pretty good chance this dream had nothing to do with your oral care. Yep! It turns out this dream is often brought on by some other variable in your life. Let’s look at some possibilities.
Interpretations of the Teeth Falling Out Dream
It seems like a dream about your teeth falling out of your mouth would be bad news. But that is not the case. There are positive interpretations as well as negative. The dream can represent everything from a major life change to lack of self esteem; from the fear of getting older to money issues; from symbolizing rebirth to regretting something you’ve said.
Here are the top five positive and negative interpretations of this common dream:
5 Positive Interpretations of Dreaming Your Teeth Fell Out1. Signs of Personal Growth.
Teeth are often symbolic of growing up: you’re born without teeth, you get your baby teeth, you lose your baby teeth, you get your adult teeth. As an adult, this dream could represent a progression from one situation to another.2. A Secret Wish to Be Nurtured.
This interpretation means you want to go back to an easier time – like when you were a kid – and mom and dad took care of everything. It also indicates that you’re facing a period of potential growth, and if you play it right, everything will turn out great.3. Looking at Loss and Personal Growth.
This dream could represent your need to take care of yourself while you’re going through radical life changes. You may be experiencing growth, discovering personal aspects that were previously hidden, and developing aspects that had been neglected.4. Renewed Strength and Self Esteem.
Teeth can be seen as symbols of power. So if you get this dream, it can relate to your personal strength. It may ultimately represent gaining more control over your environment or others, or a rise in your confidence level in either a business situation or a personal relationship.5. Rebirth.
According to psychologist C.G. Jung, the teeth falling out dream symbolizes giving birth to something new. The act of the teeth falling out reflects the tension (and sometimes pain) that comes with starting something new. A new job, new home, new relationship, or going through a period of significant growth fit this category.
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5 Negative Interpretations of Dreaming Your Teeth Fell Out1. Feeling Insecure.
Teeth falling out are associated with loss and important life changes. This dream could indicate that you’re dealing with some kind of loss, like an abrupt end to a relationship or a job change.2. Making Costly Compromises.
This dream can happen when we’re confronted with a decision, but we’re not satisfied with the options. You may be disillusioned about your career path, but you’re also concerned about the cost of going back to school.3. Unwilling to Make a Choice.
This dream could be highlighting the price of inaction. Or it may represent the feeling that you’ve lost the ability to digest critical information needed to make a decision.4. Concerns with Self Image.
A common interpretation is the fear of aging, becoming less efficient or productive at work, or lacking assertiveness.5. A Freudian Thing.
According to Freud, this dream represents sexual repression. Teeth falling out in a dream is considered a symbol of castration and fear regarding the male genitalia. And it could relate to anxiety about sexual interaction with a partner. A less literal interpretation could be the idea of powerlessness, aggression, and concerns for your safety.
Whether negative or positive, your interpretation is far more meaningful when you connect it with events, situations or feelings you have in your personal life. Ask yourself what this imagery could represent, or what role it could play in your dream life and in your awake life.
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*This blog post originally published October 2015 and updated July 2018.
Dreams about teeth falling out: what do they mean? (updated June 2022)
Dreams about teeth falling out can symbolize anything from anxiety to liberation. But studies show they're usually about your teeth.
Dreams about teeth falling out: what do they mean? (updated June 2022)
DARIA BURNETTAUGUST 26, 2021
What does it mean if you have dreams about teeth falling out? Below are 7 simple takeaways.
The TL;DR version is that such “teeth dreams” are more likely to have physical origins (such as dental irritation), and less likely to be related to distress experienced in one’s waking life.Extra: check out your own personal numerology chart, which features your very own numbers, with specific meanings for each.
What you will learn in this article:
1 An introduction to teeth dreams
2 1. Dreams about teeth falling out, and broken teeth: physical interpretations
3 2. Symbolic teeth dreams: anxiety, vulnerability, or self-doubt
4 3. Fear of powerlessness, or not being able to “speak up”
5 4. Insecurity about one’s appearance
6 5. All of the above
7 6. What about “pulling out teeth dreams”? Some common meanings
8 7. What does the science say about dreams of teeth falling out?
An introduction to teeth dreams
Are dreams about teeth falling out even about teeth? After all, Dreams are the product of the mind’s subconscious thoughts and they are not always easy to understand.
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Many common dreams can be scary, and can give the sleeper a sense of fear or impending doom.
Most people just brush these dreams off and think nothing of them, but often there is more to them than what meets the eye.
Dreams can be symbols of real-life fears that you may not want to confront in reality.
They are your mind’s way of showing you your deepest desires or fears without having to put yourself in any real danger.
Below, we look at 5 common interpretations of what it means if your teeth fall out in your dream.
1. Dreams about teeth falling out, and broken teeth: physical interpretationsNot every dream is a metaphor. A tooth is one of the most delicate parts of the human body and yet they are often neglected in our daily lives.
We don’t pay attention to what we eat, how often we brush our teeth, or how often we see the dentist.Dreams about broken teeth can represent this neglect in our lives and can be seen as a warning to take better care of your oral health.
Other people dream about a broken tooth because they have actual problems with their teeth, which is causing them to have difficulty chewing food. Or jaw pain. Or even a cavity.
2. Symbolic teeth dreams: anxiety, vulnerability, or self-doubt
Dreams about broken teeth falling out can be interpreted in different ways, and not all those interpretations are always negative.
Dreams of teeth falling out and breaking are usually indications that the dreamer is undergoing a period of self-doubt, frustration, or fear.
Dreams about broken teeth are common and usually a symbol of vulnerability. Some people find that these dreams can be disturbing and even cause them to wake up in a sweat.
Dreams about broken teeth are interpreted by some as a sign that the dreamer is feeling insecure about their current situation in life.
This insecurity can come from many different things like feeling like they cannot find happiness, or feeling like they are not living up to their potential.
It can also be related to issues with self-esteem, low self-confidence, or a lack of accomplishment in one’s life.
The dreams may indicate that one has been feeling alone, or that they lack support from others in their life.
Some experts believe that these dreams could be caused by anxiety and stress.
This stress may result from things such as work or school-related problems, difficulties with friends or family, or even just everyday issues that can be hard to deal with.
3. Fear of powerlessness, or not being able to “speak up”
Dreams are often a way to communicate deep, personal desires and fears. Losing teeth often represents a fear of powerlessness.
In dreams, teeth can represent different things – from the need to say what is bothering you to fear of powerlessness in their current situation.
Some dream experts believe that having dreams about teeth falling out is a way for your subconscious mind to tell you that there is something that you need to say out loud, but don’t dare do it in waking life.
In some cases, the loss of teeth may also indicate that there is something you need to physically say out loud. You have a problem and it feels like you can’t tell anyone about it.
4. Insecurity about one’s appearance
Dreams about teeth can also indicate that one is feeling insecure about their appearance.