Dreams about teeth falling out
Dreams about teeth falling out are very common. Typically dreams about losing teeth are are filled with anxiety and fear. I certainly wake up from them relieved to have my teeth intact! However, dreams about my teeth falling out make me pause for some serious reflection about my life. The dream is calling my attention to something amiss in my attitude toward life.
When you are doing your dream interpretation, it’s just not enough to say, “dreams about teeth falling out mean you’re anxious or worried about losing something”. This gives you no information about your situation, other than what you already know.
You could be lost in a dream and feel anxious. You can lose something of value in a dream and say the same thing: fear of losing something. The question is, why was your dream about losing teeth? What do teeth mean?
Dreams about teeth falling out mean something specific. This is why it’s important to understand dream symbolism.
Breaking down dreams about teeth falling out
Before we get into the analysis of dreams about teeth falling out, let’s first look at what teeth mean.
Teeth are not only symbols of power and transformation, they are also necessary for the survival of the fittest. For example in digestion, teeth are essential for breaking down food. Snarling teeth display power and aggression. Many animals use their teeth as tools. And teeth behind a smile can attract love and friendship.
In primitive cultures, the loss of teeth means loss of power and youth or it can mean psychological castration. If an animal loses its teeth, then it cannot defend itself or attack when necessary. So, in short, teeth symbolize, not only the essential qualities of of protection, nurturance, and love, but also survival, adaptation, and growth. We have to take all of these associations in mind when we do our interpretation of dreams about losing teeth.
In whatever form they manifest, in dreams about teeth falling out we are often mortified, frightened, and feeling out of control. Whenever you are interpreting dreams about losing teeth, always keep in mind one of the fundamental aspects of dream psychology. The dream is a depiction of an unconscious inner state, that is, something within you which lacks your conscious awareness and integration.
So, let’s dive into both the symbolism of teeth and the various meanings about dreams about teeth falling out, teeth crumbling or breaking, and losing teeth.
Dreams about teeth falling out and the functions of teeth
Teeth display power and aggression
Animals snarl and bare their teeth to display power and aggression when they are fighting for territory and position. Snarling teeth give a clear message to another animal: this is my place in life and I will fight you for it.
I think many people have negative associations with the words power and aggression. True, in some cases, power and aggression are abusive. However, not so in other cases. In order for us to step into life and make a place for ourselves in it, some level of power and aggression is necessary.
Think about some of the sayings we have about teeth in relation to empowerment. We “sink our teeth into something” in order to convey that we are fully engaged and involved in something. It’s an expression of the power of determination and enthusiasm.
When we say something “has teeth” then it commands authority and power. For example, an ideal plan which has the power to make people believe it or follow it. Or conversely, we say something “has no teeth” to convey that it has no power or authority whatsoever.
I see many people in my practice who cannot assert any kind of power or aggression. They are afraid of confrontation. As a result, they often allow themselves to be taken advantage of. Or they don’t speak their minds when they should. Others still, cannot express their own needs and desires. And in addition to that, they often go through life feeling invisible.
But nevertheless, their lack of power and aggression eventually shows up in their dreams, and often, in dreams about losing teeth.
Dreams about teeth falling out: you lack a healthy sense of power and aggression
Remember when something “has no teeth”, then it has no power. If you are someone who is afraid of your own power and aggression, then dreams about teeth falling out or dreams of missing teeth could be an image for that. As I said above, a primitive believed that loss of teeth meant psychological castration, and thus, a loss of power.
We are talking about symbolic castration. Symbolically speaking, masculine energy is directed outward and into the world. It is our ability to do something in the world. Masculine energy is our power to make things happen in life.
Castration means impotence. So, in this same sense, people who cannot display any power or aggression render themselves impotent in life. Impotence in this context can refer to a either man or a woman. Symbolically speaking, impotence is the inability to make something happen in this world.
If you have a dream about losing your teeth, then reflect on your sense of personal power. Are you in touch with it? Are you feeling threatened by something in your life? Once you figure it out, work with it. Don’t just stop at: I am afraid of losing my job or my relationship or anything like that. Those fears are about insecurity. The insecurity is what you need to work with. You need to grow some teeth, so to speak.
Interpretation of dreams about teeth falling out: teeth as a means of self-defense
In terms of self-defense, animals also use their teeth to fight off attack. And not only animals use their teeth for self-defense, but also humans!
As a child I was a tiny thing. I had this little red car that I would pedal-drive all over our apartment complex. I was as happy as I could be driving that car. One day, some kids started picking on me. And with each day, it got worse. They would push me out of my car and take it from me. And I would run home crying. I still remember the humiliation of being overpowered like that.
Well, I had an amazing caregiver named Maybelle. She was a big beautiful black woman with big gold teeth. Now Maybelle was normally packed-full of love, laughter, and peace. However, when those kids started attacking her “baby” she turned right brutal. She taught me how bite in order to protect myself. I can still hear that southern Texas accent telling me, “You bite ‘em baby. Just bite and don’t let go.” And that is exactly what I started doing. I bit them and I did not let go.
One by one, those kids stopped bothering me. I took a bite of them, and with that, I regained the power they robbed me of. Now, I am not necessarily encouraging anyone to bit others. What I am saying is that sometimes you have to take a bite of something in order to establish your place in the world. Another expression is to “bite back”, meaning don’t let anyone take advantage of or walk all over you. But in order to do that, you need some teeth.
So, if you are missing teeth in your dreams, check in with yourself. Do you let people control you or walk on you? Are you willing to fight back when you need to?
Alternatively, are you too aggressive? Are you too biting? We say that people can make biting remarks when they are too critical or not so nice to others. If this is true about you, then if you have dreams of teeth falling out or losing your teeth, it could be a signal for you to ease up. It’s the dream’s way of removing your power to be so biting.
Dreams about teeth falling out: More on the symbolism of teeth as power
To “take a bite out of” is to take away from something. In the U.S. there is an ad campaign for neighborhood watch programs that says, “take a bite of crime”. Psychologically, to take a bite out of something means to reduce its power. It can also mean to take power from something or someone, like I did with those nasty children. The taking of power was the idea behind primitives wearing necklaces made out of the teeth of their enemies or those of their animal prey.
This kind of thing is likely associated with using our teeth to eat something. When we eat something, we are taking in its power and converting it into our own. Again, think about how animals use their teeth for tearing flesh off the bone. Teeth break down food into smaller pieces, so that it can be digested and assimilated.
We too use our teeth for chewing, digesting, and assimilating our food, thereby converting it into energy.
In dream terms, then symbolically our mouth and teeth are something like a psychic mill. A mill is a device that breaks down materials into smaller pieces by grinding, cutting, or crushing. In addition, milling refers to the process breaking down, separating, or classifying a mass of material.
Now think about how your handle stressful situations. If we take on too much at once, we simply cannot process it. It breaks us down. Sometimes, in order to assimilate and digest the big ordeals of our lives, we need to do this milling process with our mind.
This process would be our ability to take in an new idea or complex situation and give it our thorough consideration. It’s like mulling it over, except we’re using the metaphor of milling it over. To psychologically chew on something. We can then break the matter down into parts and thus process and digest it thoroughly.
Dreams about Teeth Falling Out: the inability to assimilate or digest your life experiences
So you can see from this perspective, to have dreams about teeth falling out could mean an inability to engage the process of milling something in your life. Or in another view, perhaps you have already over-considered something and need to stop chewing on it! If this is the case, then it’s time swallow something and then just let digestion take place organically. There’s nothing else you can do. You need to have patience for a some things to be digested and assimilated on their own. At that point, you have to let go and trust a deeper layer of wisdom to work themselves.
Teeth Dreams and Teeth Symbolism: don’t allow yourself to be consumed
Now, let’s consider another kind of grinding process. Think of scary images of snaggletooth witches, giants, dragons, and demons that eat people or rip them to shreds. Here we have supernatural figures with monstrous teeth that can kill us. To look at this symbolically would mean the power of the unconscious to chew our ego to bits and pieces.
By this I mean, sometimes we can be overcome by emotional charges such as fear, rage, worry, and helplessness. When that mindstate becomes so destructive that we lose all sense of ourselves, then we can say that we are being consumed. I see this in the likes of panic, fear, and anxiety in my clients. I also see it in some people’s inability to let go of past injustices. Anything we cannot let go of has us.
Symbolism of teeth: To get a grip on something
Other concepts related to teeth are gripping, getting a grip, or to bite down on something. Any one of these can have positive or negative connotations.
Animals, for example, also use their teeth to seize and grip. Think about how dogs will grab onto something with all of their might and play tug of war. Or, just try and take a bone from a dog! They hold on for dear life to that thing.
Dreams About Teeth Falling out: Hanging on for dear life
So, again we have the context of grabbing onto something. Of taking hold of something and not letting go. It can be a positive thing, for example, when I wanted to move to Switzerland to study and live. I held on to that idea and did not let go until I found a way to get here. My husband even described me as “holding on that plan like a pit-bull with a bone.” There were so many times when I could have given up, but I didn’t. I had finally arrived at a place where I was going to take a bite of life. I needed to take something for myself.
Even today, I still have that image of myself like a Pit-Bull with a bone. When I want something, I bite down and hold on to it.
Teeth Falling out in Dreams: you need to let go of something
Now, this grabbing or getting a grip can also be a not-so-good thing. We often hold on for too long! And in this sense, we can become obstinate and unyielding. If you have dreams of your teeth crumbling, then this could be a signal for you to let something or someone go. Jung even went so far as to say that dreams about crumbling or missing teeth could be an indication of losing a relationship or a job, or, of going bankrupt.
This doesn’t meant freak out! It only means, take heed and consider your current situation. Face whatever happens consciously.
So, if you have dreams of crumbling or breaking teeth, then ask yourself if you need to let go of something. Or, like I said above, perhaps you have been chewing over something for far too long. And last, is there a gripping attitude that needs relaxing?
People with these gripping kind of attitudes are just irritating. They cling and hold on so tightly. They need to possess and be certain of everything. It’s unhealthy, and eventually, life will force you to let go in some tragic act of Fate.
Dreams about teeth falling out: Are you losing your grip?
To lose one’s grip can mean a lot of things. So if you have a dream where your teeth are breaking off or falling out, ask yourself if you are losing a grip on something in your life.
Consider everything such as, your relationships, financial situation, job life, or self-control. What is your grip on reality? Are you seeing everything with clarity? Examine your life situation, in terms of your grip on things, from every possible angle. What can you do to regain some sense of balance and control?
Perhaps you’re losing a grip on a long-held belief or attitude. Or maybe you are too controlling. In these cases, perhaps the meaning of losing your teeth in dreams could indicate that need to let go. Don’t hold on so tight. Be willing to transition. Whenever we are unwilling to heed the advice of dreams like these, again, eventually that advice will play itself out as Fate. When that happens, it’s usually much worse.
Dreams About Teeth Falling Out: Teeth symbolism and rites of initiation
The loss of teeth is also symbolic of a rite of passage from one stage of life to another. Just think about children and all of the rituals associated with losing baby teeth. Cherokee Indian children would run around the outside of their house with their tooth and then toss it onto the roof, saying “Beaver put a new tooth in my jaw!”
I don’t know if you know this, but as beavers are working to saw down trees with their teeth, they are also receving energizing nutrients, thus giving them more power to work. One of my clients who suffered from what she called “sloth” had a dream about a beaver. She realized that only by working and engaging in life would she get her energy back.
In Afghanistan, children leave their teeth in mouse holes, praying to the mouse to give them strong teeth. France, Guatemala, Russia, and Spain also have tooth rituals dedicated to mice. These are only a few. People all over the world have these symbolic tooth rituals.
In initiation rites and ceremonies of boys, primitives either knocked out or extracted some of the initiate’s teeth. These rites and ceremonies were centered around ushering the boy into manhood. Some part of the child must be removed and left behind.
Loss of baby teeth symbolizes loss of childhood. Related to this, loss of teeth symbolize transitions in general, perhaps even a transition into another level of maturity. At some level, dreams about your losing your teeth could indicate a another process of maturation. So you can ask yourself, is there some quality I must surrender in order for me to move forward?
A client of mine had a dream about brushing her teeth and finding rotting baby teeth. This kind of dream is symbolic of the need to let go of childhood’s grip on you. Rotting teeth can cause pain and infection. A psychic image of pain and infection is symbolic of a psychic problem. So if you dream of rotting teeth, then you should ask yourself what part of my gripping attitude is old and rotten?
Dreams about teeth falling out: Teeth symbolism and Superstition
And last, I wanted to include some superstition about teeth. Every once in a while you might have some of this imagery in your dreams.
According to superstition, a child born with teeth – natal teeth which have already erupted prior birth – is a sign of his or her future greatness. There are a few notable cases in the likes of Napoleon, Henry VIII, Louis XIV, and Caesar. Neonatal teeth can also indicate possible signs of cruelty. Supposedly, Richard III and Ivan the Terrible are examples.
In Jamaica, some believe if you kiss a dead person on the lips that your teeth will fall out.
In Samoa, while a dead body is in the house, no meals must be taken in the house. One must eat outside or in another house. Those who attend the dead are fed by others for those days. The penalty for breaking any of these rules is baldness and loss of teeth.
Losing a tooth means bad luck, loss of a friend, disappointment in love, or bad news; seeing white teeth, some great joy is in store for you.
Want to learn more about working with dreams or Jungian Psychology?
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- Dreams About Dead Fathers: It’s Time to Re-Think or Update Your Conscious Attitude - February 14, 2020
- Nightmare Meaning and Nightmare Disorder:A Jungian Perspective - January 22, 2020
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