Teeth in your dreams: making sense of the symbolic meaning
Teeth in your dreams have a wide variety of symbolic meanings. Dreams about teeth can relate to being seen and heard, how you communicate and your relationship with authority. Teeth form some of the basic building blocks of the body and remain as part of the skeleton even after death. In this way, teeth can relate to issues surrounding your core beliefs, the building blocks of who you are, as well as to concepts around integrity, compromise and basic values.
On another level, teeth in your dreams can relate to aggression, self-preservation and power. Teeth falling out in dreams can reflect how you engage with the world and, like many dreams, may arise during times of transition. Teeth in dreams often relate to how you think you are perceived. One of the ways people perceive us, or seek to understand us, is through what we say. People know us though our words.
If you have had a dream where your teeth started falling out in the middle of a conversation, it could indicate that you have recently said something that made you feel embarrassed. You may be feeling a sense of remorse or awkwardness. If you are a person with no filter who sometimes wishes you hadn’t said that last thing, you may have this dream occasionally. If you have been saying unkind things about others or gossiping, you may have this dream as your subconscious brings your behaviour into your conscious mind so you can check yourself and be more charitable.
Conversely, if you have been in a situation where you felt too uncomfortable to even speak, you may have had this dream. This dream may arise if you have been feeling belittled, sidelined or ignored. This symbol could be exploring ideas around being unable to use your voice and express yourself clearly.
Dreams of losing teeth seem to connect with feelings of childhood, when you first lost your teeth. This may relate to being patronised, teased or not taken seriously by adults. That frustrated feeling of wishing you could just tell that person exactly how you feel can result in dreaming of your teeth coming out, sometimes to the point of actually spitting them out as you wish to spit out your words. “Spit it out” is a phrase used to hurry speech along. Spitting out teeth in dreams can also symbolise an urgency in the need to express yourself, or that you are being urged by others to do so. “Spitting distance” implies closeness, which may indicate the ideas you wish to communicate are very important to you, “close to your heart”. It could also indicate that others close to you are involved with your issues about expressing yourself.
Remember, while it is important to not use words to hurt others, it is also important not to cause yourself pain by agonising over every slip of the tongue. Take this dream guidance as gentle advice to be considerate with your words, and not to criticise yourself painfully.
Another way the world judges us is by how we look. Teeth in this sense are signs of health and youth — as people often lose their teeth as they grow older. Therefore, teeth are associated with vigour and attractiveness. To dream of teeth falling out could relate to how you feel about your appearance or your sense of wellbeing. If you are struggling with feeling secure about your looks, if you are feeling uncomfortable with ageing, if you have been sick or people close to you have been unwell, you may dream about your teeth falling out.
Teeth in your dreams can also relate to confidence. A full set of clean, white, even teeth, is associated with attractiveness, success and wealth. To dream of losing teeth, therefore, can symbolise a loss of confidence that may arise after financial loss, the end of a relationship or failing to achieve a goal in waking life. Criticism from others or your own internal critic can also give rise to this type of dream.
As issues around confidence and power are fundamental to losing your teeth in a dream, if you feel threatened, unappreciated or judged in waking life, this dream may come up. If you feel you are lacking something that is important to you, or that your work, financial or relationship status is precarious, this dream may also arise. Falling teeth can symbolise instability or fear of loss. The ability to express yourself, to stand up for what is important to you, to persuade others to see your point of view and to speak your basic truth is at the heart of true confidence. Falling teeth in dreams can draw attention to how your self-confidence is intrinsically linked with your ability to communicate clearly.
Dreams of losing teeth can also be an expression of sadness. We often use the word smile to inherently encompass the idea of teeth. When we ask someone to show us their smile, it usually means to reveal the teeth. Having teeth in bad condition, crumbling or falling out can be reason enough to keep your mouth closed and not show your smile. If someone has impacted on your joy in life, particularly through criticism or belittling, or if you feel forced into a compromising situation, you may experience this dream. If you are feeling a sense of loss, this dream may also come up for you. The loss of your teeth may symbolise the loss of a relationship, plans for the future or even core ideals and values.
When the teeth in your dreams are really rotten, this can relate to issues that are deeply upsetting to you or that stem from events in the more distant past. These issues may have been lingering around you for so long, you feel they are going rotten. Teeth in such a bad state in your dream may be urging you to really get to the root of the problem. This dream may relate to having made a compromise that you now find unacceptable, especially if this involved lying, keeping a secret or not speaking up against something you are morally opposed to.
Chipping teeth in your dreams but not falling out entirely may relay a sense of not having communicated clearly, perhaps a situation where you were unable to give all the information you wanted to share, or to clearly get your side of the story across. Chips and fractures of teeth in dreams also explore ideas around honesty and how communicating only a part of a story can be misleading. You may have been on the giving or receiving end of a partial truth that has disturbed you in waking life. If the chips are sharp and hurt you, this can relate to “sharp words” or criticism you have either received or given.
If you dream of swallowing your teeth, this can symbolise a situation in waking life where you felt you had to “swallow your words” and were not able to express your true thoughts or feelings. That may have been necessary at the time to keep a temporary peace, but this dream serves to remind you of the nature of compromise. The pain or discomfort you felt in your dream from swallowing teeth may reflect the internal discomfort that you tried to ignore in holding back your honest opinion. This dream may make you consciously aware that the things that you didn’t say still remain an integral part of who you are, and to warn you not to give up this truth entirely.
As the first stage of digestion, teeth are the means by which large food is broken down before being swallowed and digested further. In dreams, losing teeth can symbolise difficulty with managing some new information or changes in your life. You may have some new information that feels “difficult to swallow” or some complex life changes that are occurring and feel “hard to digest”. Without strong teeth to chew this information over, you may feel vulnerable and confused.
Sometimes dreams of losing teeth can be very distressing and involve blood and raw gums. When these dreams are so expressive, it can indicate that the power you have lost, the compromises you have made or the ability to speak your truth are severely impaired. You may feel morally compromised in your work or trapped in a toxic relationship. These dreams express your deep distress and conflict. Your subconscious is imploring you to address the issues in your life, remember the deep power within you and to claim it back.
The gaps that appear in your mouth when you lose your teeth in dreams may symbolise the elements of your life you feel are currently missing. If you dream of trying to put your teeth back into your mouth, this may symbolise your attempts to save a situation that you feel is crumbling away or falling apart. This especially seems to apply to beliefs that you have held for a long time or considered permanent. Trying to save a marriage you thought would be life-long may bring up this dream symbol. Having a crisis of faith or a change in life direction can also provoke this symbol to appear in your dreams.
Consider what feelings arise strongest in you to help understand what meaning is most relevant to you. Dreams of lost teeth ask you to consider where you are feeling insecure in life. What is your truth and how you can speak it? How can you truly express who you are and what is preventing you from living an authentic life? How much judgement are you feeling from outside and how much from within? What is it you really want to share?
Just as baby teeth falling out is a sign that you are growing into an adult, so too may teeth falling out in dreams symbolise transition and the opportunity for growth. Dreams of teeth falling out highlight that there is an area of your life that can be improved upon by stepping into your own power. These dreams invite you to speak your own truth with confidence. This symbol suggests there is an opportunity to recognise that ultimate self-love and acceptance are the greatest weapons against judgement and a critical world. By stilling the inner voice of self-criticism, you can start to share your words and ideas, confident that you are worthy of being both seen and heard.
Want to learn more about what your dreams mean? Visit our Dreams archive page.
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