Although most people do not lose their teeth all at once in real life, some can attest to knowing how traumatic the experience can be – from their dreams. Dreaming of teeth falling out or rotting, aptly referred to as ‘teeth dreams’, is still an unsolved mystery. A 2012 study by the Hong Kong Shue Yan University found that teeth dreams are relatively common as 39 percent of the 1186 respondents indicated that they had experienced such dreams before. There are numerous interpretations that differ amongst cultures and religions today due to their universality.
Here are the few that are more psychologically and scientifically grounded:
The start of a new life phase
Swiss psychologist Carl Jung suggests that teeth dreams signify ‘rebirth’; the start of a fresh phase that may involve a new job, hobby or relationship. The term can be taken more literally too: for women, it may mean the start of pregnancy. The idea of rebirth here refers to that one, frightful constant — change — which is often beyond our control. Our mind thus reflects this via dreams, manifested through the uncontrollable experience of losing one’s teeth.
A lack of control in your life
In the same vein, American psychotherapist Satya Doyle Byock suggests that teeth dreams signify a lack of autonomy in one’s life. Babies and the elderly both have empty gums as humans naturally lose our teeth during our early childhood and twilight years. This similarity signifies a “lack of autonomy, a feeling of sort of being swept along by your own physical needs and the requirements of the outer world”. Now, consider how many of the working and middle class are stuck in nine to five routines – having no real autonomy over their lives and passions.
It’s no wonder that teeth dreams are so common.
Fortunately, your lack of control is only a state of mind – check out these small habits that will help you get out of your rut!
Sexual repression and bedroom problems
Renowned Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud suggested that teeth dreams signify sexual repression. They reflect a nervousness about the male genitals that involve castration, sexual performance or the uncertainty of starting a new sexual relationship. Another more PG theory may involve the idea of submission, aggression or concerns for your own safety.
Your involuntary teeth movement are triggering those dreams
A theory by psychologist Calvin Yu from the University of Hong Kong suggests that teeth grinding, the uncontrollable clenching or movement of teeth when one is sleeping, creates sensations that enter our dreams – triggering our in-dream teeth to fall. This is highly plausible; after all, studies prove that things from our physical surroundings can be weaved into dreams. The incorporated element, however, has to be subtle but noticeable enough – something as loud as your iPhone alarm would obviously cause a rude awakening.
Preventing teeth dreams from turning into reality
The occurrence of teeth dreams are well beyond our control, but you can always get greater peace of mind by working on your real-life teeth and oral health.
Here are some things that you can do now so that those teeth dreams will never happen:
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