Stacey Colino

Last night, I dreamed that my teeth fell out! What could dreams about teeth mean?

Believe it or not, nearly everyone dreams about their teeth at one time or another. Sometimes, teeth crumble away, fall out one by one or start to rot in the dream. And throughout history, interpretations have suggested this dream theme reflects a fear of death or dying, of getting older, or of losing power, important people or possessions in your life. Meanwhile, some psychiatrists (including Sigmund Freud) have claimed the dream expresses an unconscious desire to have children for women or a fear of castration for men. Others say that, since teeth are a source of power (they bite, right?), such dreams symbolize helplessness.

But these meanings don’t ring true to dream expert Gayle Delaney, founding president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. “In my experience, dreams of losing your teeth usually have to do with being afraid of looking bad or losing face in public, or worrying about losing your ability to function in some way,” explains Delaney.

The only way you’re really going to figure out what it means for you, says the expert, is to ask yourself these questions:

- How did you feel in the dream?

- What’s wrong with having your teeth fall out?

- Does this remind you of any feeling or situation in your life?

If you answer these three questions in the most basic terms possible -- almost as if you were talking to someone from another planet who doesn’t even know what teeth are -- you’ll unmask the dream’s personal significance.

Stacey Colino is a freelance writer specializing in health and psychological issues. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post health section and in such national magazines as Newsweek, Real Simple, Woman’s Day and Prevention.


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Health - What Could Dreams About Teeth Mean?