Dreams about losing our teeth can be especially strange and troubling, after all our teeth are important for both eating, talking, and make up a large part of the aesthetics of our faces.
But just how common are these dreams, and exactly what do they mean?
Dreaming is a succession of images, ideas, sensation and emotions which usually occur involuntarily in the mind during sleep.
Human beings spend around 2 hours dreaming per night, and whilst the dream can seem much longer than this to the dreaming person, each bout usually only lasts between 5-20 minutes.
They occur mainly in the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep, when the human mind is most highly functioning and almost resembles being awake.
This has been observed in animals as well, suggesting that they too dream when asleep.
However, the subject of these dreams (and patterns therein) are dependent on verbal retelling, as such there is no concrete proof.
Psychologists and dream experts have pondered the subject for years, going back and forth about what these commonly held dreams can mean on a psychological level.
Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud believed that a person’s dreams reflected their unconscious desires, anxieties, and opinions.
This was later supported and expanded upon by Carl Jung and others, and this has come to be considered the closest understanding of where dreams come from, at least from a sense of narrative and meaning.
How Common Are They?
Dreams surrounding teeth are some of the most commonly experienced dreams, and they can take on many different forms.
From teeth being made of gold, to having unclean teeth, to dreams where they break and become damaged, each of these is thought to refer to anxiety and confidence (or lack thereof).
Dreams of golden teeth are thought to refer to strength and resilience, suggesting a confidence and fortitude against future problems.
Dreams about rotting or broken teeth can be related to hidden problems or secrets that are manifesting themselves in the dream.
This can be a sign you are not as happy as you could be, and that this hidden problem is holding you back.
This can be connected to human vanity surrounding our appearance, and our anxiety at being deemed ugly or poorly turned out to our peers.
With this comes the idea of deceit, and not wanting our secrets, lies, or hidden problems to be revealed to all.
Dreams Of Tooth Loss
Perhaps the most common of the tooth dreams, dreaming of losing teeth can be attributed to several things, all of them centered around a feeling of great loss, or the fear of a loss on the horizon.
This could be the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship or friendship, losing your home or possessions, or losing your job.
Some religions specifically believe that tooth loss dreams predict a coming death in the family, and that the dreams are powerful omens about such things.
With time comes loss, and as such the future can be a great source of anxiety for many people.
This could manifest itself in tooth loss in your dreams, and could indicate anxiety about impending results, the future of a relationship, difficult family events, or potential financial ruin.
Ultimately, what this dream tends to embody is stress and anxiety from your waking life.
This can even be background stress that isn’t associated with loss, although in a sense, stress is the loss of peace within the self, so perhaps it still remains relevant.
If you are experiencing these dreams, then it could mean you are under more stress than usual, even if it is unconscious stress you are not too aware of.
Anxiety too is a major cause. It can even cause grinding of the teeth at night, which is identified as a physical stimuli that promotes tooth loss dreams.
Of course, there is no greater cause of stress and anxiety than impending change.
As human beings we like routine and structure to our lives (at least on some level), and many of it tie our feelings of comfort and self worth to those structures.
When these are threatened by future change, our minds can often jump to the worst possible outcomes, seeing it as a loss of our status quo, or the end of present positive aspects in our lives.
The best way to approach change is to think of it as an opportunity to grow, and to separate what we know to be true (that something might change) from the negative thoughts we experience which, until they happen, exist only in our imagination.
Of course, low moods, depression, and general feelings of low self worth can all contribute to tooth loss dreams.
If you feel like things are going wrong on the inside, then this might start to manifest itself on the outside (in the dream at least), and with the smile being in essence the public facing “mask” we adopt.
As well as a signifier that we are okay, the loss of our teeth could represent feelings of hopelessness or the loss of resolve.
And there we have it, a brief history of tooth loss dreams, how common they are, and what they might mean.
Ultimately, they are cross-cultural, and some of the most commonly held dreams amongst the human race.
So no matter how scary they might feel, you should try to take comfort in their commonality.
They do however offer us indications of our mental health, and should be taken as helpful warnings from our unconscious mind to show us that maybe everything is not right and small changes might need to be made.
This could be as simple as more sleep, exercise, or a more mindful life with a focus on self care.