According to experts, people dream about 4 to 6 times per night. Sometimes we remember a few of these dreams; sometimes, we don’t. Researchers still haven’t been able to figure out why we dream. Some believe dreams result from our brains going into “screen saver” mode when our body is repairing itself while we sleep, like monitors playing images while work carries on at the back end of a computer.
There are two stages we go through while sleeping- non-REM sleep and REM sleep. Dreams occur during REM sleep. Rapid Eye Movement occurs at intervals during the night. It can last 10 minutes initially and increase up to 90 minutes at a time. During this time, our eyes move rapidly in all directions, and our heart rate and breathing accelerate. Most vivid dreams occur during REM sleep because the brain is more active.
A few common dream themes can be found among dreamers. Some typical dreams are about teeth falling out, being chased, being naked, falling from a great height, failing a test, and more.
Why do we dream of teeth falling out? What does it mean? Is there a scientific explanation for it? Let’s find out.
There are many ways dreams of teeth falling out can manifest themselves. For some, their teeth may start falling out one by one. For some, their teeth may crumble into dust. Dreams about teeth rotting or being filled with holes are also common. One way or another, such dreams have a recurring theme of losing teeth. There can be a variety of interpretations for such dreams.
1. Psychological Interpretations of Dream of Teeth Falling Out
Dreams are a reflection of our waking lives. Events happening in our lives and how they make us feel can manifest into our dreams.
Our mental health may reflect in our dreams. Sometimes we may have unprocessed feelings in our subconscious that are made conscious through our dreams. Similarly, dreams about teeth falling can have a few psychological interpretations.
1.1. You May Be Stressed
Everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives. Stress is our response to pressure due to certain life events or external threats. We can be stressed while juggling too many responsibilities or facing situations we haven’t figured out how to manage.
Stress is not always a bad thing. Stress keeps us alive. For example, when facing a threat, our stress response becomes hyperactive, pumping us with adrenaline and keeping us alert while tackling the situation.
But too much of anything is never a good sign. It applies to stress as well. Dreams about teeth falling out may mean that you are stressed in real life and need to step back and take a break immediately.
1.2. You May Have Anxiety
Anxiety results from uncontrolled stress. It is when our fight or flight response goes into overdrive while reacting to the smallest of stimuli. While our fight or flight response is an important part of dealing with threats, too much of it can wear our body down.
Anxiety differs from stress because it lasts for a longer period. It causes excessive worrying that interferes with daily life. Anxiety can often make people worry about things going wrong at an intense level, such as teeth falling out.
1.3. You May Have Depression
Depression is defined by long periods of feeling extreme guilt, hopelessness, loneliness, and suicidal thoughts.
Depressed individuals may experience poor-quality sleep. Sleep disturbances can lead to undesirable dreams, such as teeth falling out.
Depression leads to people having low energy, often making them unable to get out of bed. Since these people cannot follow their self-care routine even though they want to, the anxiety of not keeping well may lead to such dreams. People who are depressed may also have low self-worth, making them picture something going wrong with their bodies, such as teeth falling out.
1.4. You May Be Grieving
You may have suffered a deep personal loss. You may be grieving the death of a loved one or the loss of a relationship, job, or home.
If you have dreams about losing teeth, it may mean that you are concerned about the physical well-being of yourself or your loved ones. You may feel guilt or grief over people who have passed away and people who may be presently sick.
1.5. You May Be Going Through a Major Change
You may be in the middle of major changes in your life. For example, you just moved to a new town. You have a new house, a new workplace, and a new school. You may be in the middle of adjusting to all these changes. Major changes often give rise to stress and anxiety. This can cause you to dream of teeth falling out.
1.6. You May Be Having Trouble Communicating
Teeth, along with the tongue, help us form words while speaking. Teeth dreams can hence correlate to our methods of communication.
Maybe there is something that you want to say but are hesitating to. Perhaps you said something wrong and are now regretting it. Maybe you don’t know how to put something you have been feeling into words, and such feelings manifest as dreams in your subconscious.
1.7. You May Be Feeling a Loss of Control
Teeth are covered by enamel, the hardest tissue in the human body. Because of this, some consider teeth a symbol of strength and perseverance.
Dreams about losing teeth, especially those that appear crumbling, may be because you feel you are losing control and everything is falling apart. Maybe you have been facing setbacks in your life that are making you feel like a failure or uncertain about your future. Your subconscious is letting you know so through your dreams.
1.8. You May Be Worried About Your Self-Image
You may have low self-esteem and self-worth, leading to a negative self-image. You may feel insecure about your body, personality, or abilities, making you doubt yourself. You may also fear that others are criticizing you. All these thoughts and feelings, including self-doubt, can make you dream about losing your teeth differently.
They may result from long-term feelings you were not consciously aware of. You may have a dream of teeth falling out or a dream in which your teeth appear broken.
1.9. You May Be Jealous
If you have been jealous of your partner, friend, or colleague, the pent-up negative energy can make you feel stressed and affect your physical well-being. This can sneak into your subconscious and make you dream of teeth falling out.
2. Physical Interpretations of Dream of Teeth Falling Out
Sometimes you may feel physical discomfort in your teeth which roots itself in the subconscious and makes you dream about them. These are a few reasons you may dream about teeth falling out due to dental irritation. These are examples of when in a dream, physiological and psychological correlates.
2.1. You May Be Grinding Your Teeth
People who have anxiety have a habit of grinding their teeth. Dreaming about teeth falling is a very common dream for such people. While teeth grinding can lead to such a dream, dreaming the same can also lead to physical reactions such as grinding teeth while sleeping.
2.2. You May Know People With Growing Teeth
This is true for younger children who have lost their baby teeth and have just started growing new adult teeth. If they have experienced teeth dreams, assure them there is nothing to worry about. They are just growing more teeth. Teeth dreams are typical dreams themes for children of their age.
2.3. You May Have Recently Broken Your Teeth
Maybe you had an accident where you broke your teeth. Teeth breaking in the waking world can cause you to have physical sensations while you sleep. This can lead to such dreams.
2.4. Someone You Know May Have Missing Teeth
When you dream about teeth, it may not necessarily be your own teeth you are dreaming about. Maybe you have a young child who has just started growing teeth, and a few are missing. Or perhaps you know someone with gaps between their teeth or missing teeth, and you dreamt about them.
2.5. You May Have Poor Personal Health
You may have been neglecting your health by not eating healthy, nutritious food or not getting enough exercise which has left you with poor sleep quality. You face general sleep disturbances causing you to have dreams such as teeth falling.
You may also face dental irritation because of poor oral health or a recent dental procedure making you dream about your teeth.
3. Spiritual and Cultural Interpretations of Dream of Teeth Falling Out
Some communities believe that dreaming about teeth falling is a bad omen. It means that you are about to lose someone close to you. While other communities believe the opposite. They think of it as a good omen. It means that good fortune is about to come your way.
Some cultures believed that dreams were a form of communication with the gods and the deceased. It is important to remember that such beliefs are superstitious with no scientific roots. They have no medical associations. You should interpret your dreams by recognizing symbols you are familiar with.
Dreaming is a common experience but not the messages received through them. Interpreting dreams is subjective. It is personal and follows no rules.
Interesting Fact: In ancient Greece, Artemidorus, a future teller, believed that dreams related to losing teeth suggested the inability of an individual to pay their debts.
4. Are you having Recurring Dreams about Teeth Falling Out?
Dreaming about teeth falling may be an ordinary dream you have once in a while. Although, if these dreams are recurring, it may be a sign of something more such as psychological concerns.
If your dreams affect your daily life and cause you to worry, they may help you understand them. How does losing your teeth affect you? What events throughout the day may have inspired the events in your dream?
5. Is there a Scientific Explanation behind a Dream of Teeth Falling Out?
Scientists have researched why we dream and what those dreams mean. While they haven’t concluded yet for the former, they have found convincing results for the latter.
Researchers studied the relationship between teeth dreams, psychological distress, dental irritation, and sleep quality. For the research, undergraduate students were taken as test subjects. They were asked to keep records of their dream themes, psychological distress, dental irritation, and sleep quality.
To measure dental irritation, they studied two parameters; teeth tension and grinding, scientifically known as sleep bruxism. Teeth tension is the feeling of tenderness in your teeth after waking up. The study found that the dreams related to dental tension but not to sleep bruxism. To understand this inference, researchers concluded that people might not be aware that they suffer from sleep bruxism resulting in tooth tension in the morning.
The study concluded that teeth dreams were unrelated to psychological distress or sleep quality. There was no relation between teeth dreams and other types of dreams either.
Though this research suggested that teeth dreams did not correlate with psyche or sleep, another research concluded that college students with frequent teeth dreams had a history of depression and anxiety.
Science suggests that dreams are influenced by somatosensory stimulation; physical actions may affect what we dream about. Dental irritation, such as teeth grinding while sleeping, may result in teeth dreams.
6. What did Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung Say about Dreams of Teeth Falling Out?
Sigmund Freud believed that dreams should be left up to the individual dreaming to analyze and interpret. He suggested people explore their minds and draw conclusions based on the messages sent by their psyches.
Freud shut down theories revolving around teeth dreams implying death. Instead, he declared that such dreams had sexual connotations.
Carl Jung had his own theories about such dreams. He believed that dreams were an insight into the future. Jung hinted at teeth dreams as childbirth in women. Some believe his theory implied an individual’s impending “rebirth.”
7. How Common is Dreaming about Teeth Falling Out?
Dreams about teeth falling can be disturbing. But they are very common dreams. About 40% of people have had unusual or recurring dreams of teeth falling. Out of these, about 8% have them regularly.
Science declares that a teeth dream may be more somatopsychic rather than psychosomatic; the dream may have been brought on by physical discomfort rather than the other way around. We can also find instances where physiological and psychological correlates.
It has been proven that we dream about events that have taken place in our waking life. So we can infer that dreams about teeth falling may coincide with such an event that has recently taken place.
Interesting Fact: The 2015 Pixar movie Inside Out played out a dream sequence in which a character’s teeth fell out due to extreme psychological distress.
8. Ten Different Types of Dreams about Teeth Falling Out
While teeth dreams are among typical dream themes, they may take different forms according to each individual. Here are a few examples.
8.1. You Pulled Out a Loose Tooth
Something is dangling above your head that needs to be sorted out. You may have been thinking about resolving or ending a conflict for a long time. The loose tooth may be the final string you must pull to gain closure.
8.2. You Tried to Pick Something Out of Your Teeth and the Tooth Fell Out
This dream is a sign of clearing up a misunderstanding. The object stuck between your teeth is an important part of this dream. For example, if it’s gum, then you may have landed yourself in a situation you are finding difficult to get out of.
8.3. Your Teeth Began Crumbling
You had an argument where you couldn’t get your point across clearly. Maybe you stumbled over your words or left out something important. Your teeth started crumbling because it wasn’t solid enough.
8.4. Your Teeth Started Falling Out One By One
Maybe you revealed something to someone you were not supposed to. You started planting the information little by little. But you regret it now and dream of the teeth as the gossip you wish you hadn’t spread.
8.5. Your Teeth All Fell Out at Once
This dream occurs in people who are big talkers. They talk a lot and unintentionally reveal more than they should. The more they talk, the more their teeth fall out. They are aware of this habit but are not proud of it. They lose their teeth as uncontrollably as they speak.
8.6. Your Teeth Fell Out With a Light Tap
Maybe someone pushed you to reveal something that you wouldn’t have otherwise. They nudged you a little, and you said something you regretted later. A light tap making your teeth fall out can indicate such a situation.
8.7. Your Teeth Started Chipping Off
This dream is about holding back. Maybe you aren’t talking about something that is bothering you but affecting your health. Your teeth have started chipping off due to holding on to all those feelings acting like acid inside you.
8.8. Your Teeth Started to Rot
This dream is common among people who are worried about getting old. They worry about impending death. They may view teeth rotting as their life getting closer to death each day.
8.9. Your Teeth Started Pushing Back Into Your Gums
If you have ever felt you wanted to take back something you said, this dream may be bothering you. You may want to retreat into yourself like your teeth retreating into gums and wish people would forget what you said to them.
8.10. Your Teeth Fell Out, but You Couldn’t Find Them
You may want to say something in your waking life, but you can’t find the right words to express it. Not being able to find your teeth may mean that you aren’t able to find the right words.
9. What Should you do if you Dream of Teeth Falling Out?
You may want to interpret your dream yourself. You can start by remembering as many details of the dream as possible. Note these down and analyze each component one by one. Start by taking teeth as a symbol. What do teeth symbolize for you? Do you see them as a source of strength? Or do you see them as a source of perseverance? Do you dream about your teeth or about the teeth of someone you know?
Think about all other symbols you may have come upon in your dream. Analyze what those symbols mean to you. Is it a symbolic manifestation of something going on in your life? Put all of these together and piece a narrative.
Think about the events that took place in your waking life. Are they coinciding with your dream? You can determine if the dream was positive or negative through these components in your dream analysis.
Upon introspection, if you find that you are feeling psychological distress, you may want to seek a professional to check your mental health. Your subconscious may show signs that something is wrong and needs to be fixed through your dreams.
Dreams of teeth falling are just one among other typical dream themes. They may reflect your physical health as well as mental health. A recurring dream may be a sign of something more.
But dreams can also be just another body function to which we give more meaning than necessary. Maybe you watched a horror movie before sleeping, leading to a nightmare. Perhaps you have an exciting trip planned that you are looking forward to, hence the dream.
Maybe you had an outlandish dream that inspired you to write a story or create a painting. Some of the world’s best creations and discoveries were born out of dreams. Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was born from a dream about jumping cows. Mary Shelly had a nightmare about a hideous man whose state resulted from a wrong science experiment that inspired the book, Frankenstein. Christopher Nolan’s film Inception was an extension of his experiences with lucid dreaming. The melody of the song ‘Yesterday’ by The Beatles came to Paul McCartney in a dream. History is full of such examples. Who knows, maybe one day, your dreams will make history too.