What Does It Mean To Dream About Your Teeth Falling Out?

Sometimes we forget our dreams as soon as we wake up, but once in a while, our dreams can really stick with us during the day. One of the more common dreams whose imagery seems to linger hours after we wake up is dreaming about our own teeth. In fact, a 2018 study published by Frontiers in Psychology found that nearly 39% of respondents had dreams about their teeth, and 16% of respondents found their teeth dreams to be recurrent. The researchers found that "Dreams of teeth falling out or rotting, are one of the most common and universal typical dream themes."

In 1984, a University of Colorado study concluded that people who had dreams of their teeth falling out "were significantly more anxious and depressed, had lower ego strength, were less satisfied with their lives, felt they had less control over their lives, and felt helpless," but has the psychology around teeth dreams advanced in 40 years? What does it truly mean when our teeth fall out in our dreams? Should we be brushing and flossing more often, or is there a deeper, hidden meaning?

Dreaming about losing teeth can stem from anxiety

Having dreams about your teeth falling out is fairly common and often may be disturbing; so much so, that dentists and doctors have coined a term. "As a dentist, I have patients who ask me about this dream a lot. Dreams about teeth falling out are so common that there's even a name for them: tooth loss anxiety dreams," Dr. Katrina Zhao told Insider. The outlet also spoke with psychotherapist Valentina Dragomir, who suggested that these kinds of teeth dreams may stem from insecurity, low self-esteem, or other challenges, like an aversion to change or personal growth.

However, professional dream analyst Lauri Quinn Loewenberg disagrees. "The teeth dream will be connected to the way you've been communicating lately," she told The Cut. "Any dream having to do with the mouth — the lips, the tongue, the teeth, the throat — is going to be about what you've been saying, how you've been saying it, et cetera." Loewenberg goes on to explain why different types of teeth dreams might stem from arguments, miscommunication, talking too much, or weak speech.

What can you do about teeth dreams?

Despite their disturbing nature, there may not be an actual way to prevent your sleeping self from dreaming about teeth. But ignoring them might do a disservice to your mental health. Sleep Foundation recommends talking to a mental health professional if you find your teeth dreams are causing anxiety. Psychologist and dream expert Rubin Naiman, Ph.D., who spoke with Mind Body Green, says, "When people are having repeated dreams, it's really important to address them. There's an old saying from the Talmud that says, 'A dream unexamined is like a letter unopened.' So, it's important to open that letter ... attend to it, sit with the dream, and associate with it."

One of the best ways to attend to it is to keep what's called a dream journal. A great way to dream journal is to keep a notepad and pen underneath your pillow so that you can write down your dreams as soon as you wake up in the morning before you forget them (which usually happens within a few minutes!). Professional dream analyst Lauri Quinn Loewenberg told The Cut that journaling about your dreams alongside journaling about the events of your day might help you "more easily connect the dots between what happened in your day to see how that affected what you dreamt that night."

But if a cigar is just a cigar (according to Sigmund Freud), then it's possible that sometimes a dream is just a dream.