dreams

A Dream Expert Explores Why You’re Dreaming About Your Teeth Falling Out

Photo: Francisco Beaufrand/Getty Images

It’s one of the scariest dreams you can have: You’re going about your business, and all of a sudden, your teeth start falling out. Maybe they drop out one at a time, or they start crumbling in your hands, or they start splintering off. No matter what, having a dream where your teeth fall out is unsettling. If you’ve had a dream like this, you might be wondering what it means.

“The teeth dream will be connected to the way you’ve been communicating lately,” says Lauri Quinn Loewenberg, professional dream analyst and author. “Any dream having to do with the mouth — the lips, the tongue, the teeth, the throat — is going to be about what you’ve been saying, how you’ve been saying it, etcetera.” Continue reading for Loewenberg’s interpretations of various dreams about teeth falling out, and how they might relate to what’s happening in your life when you’re awake.

If you dreamed that your teeth begin crumbling …
“The one where your teeth crumble is connected to weak speech. You’re typically going to get that dream when you maybe had an argument or you feel like you didn’t get your point across, or you just didn’t say it correctly, that what came out of your mouth was weak. It had cracks in it, it wasn’t solid.”

If you dreamed that your teeth started falling out slowly or one by one …
“When they come out on their own, that’s usually connected to allowing something out of your mouth that you wish you could put back in. Saying something without thinking about it first, gossip, things that should have stayed in there. When the teeth come out one at a time, then look at your communication the day before. Did you start maybe leaking information about someone or something? Did you say little trickles of things that maybe you shouldn’t have said? It’s connected to just saying little tidbits here and there.”

If you dreamed that they all fell out at once …
Loewenberg says that this happens when you said a lot of information all at once. “That usually comes people who are talkers and who just talk way too much and don’t know when to stop talking. These people that have this personality trait are typically aware of it. They get that dream, it’s a lot of things come out of their mouth all the time. But it can also happen when you’ve allowed something big out of your mouth. Like the more teeth that come out, the bigger the deal is of what you said. So if you’re trying to hold it in or you’re trying to catch the teeth, then that is connected to your realization of Oops, I shouldn’t have said that.”

If only a few of your teeth fell out in the dream …
“If it’s just a few teeth that come out instead of all of them, then again it would reflect a level of how much you’ve said.” Loewenberg urges you to look at the day before, because dreams will always be connected to something that happened the day before the dream. “Did you not give a whole truth? Did you only say half the story, so to speak?”

If all but one or two teeth fell out …
“If there’s just a little bit left, then you may still feel you have a little bit of dignity left after whatever it was you vomited out.”

If you dreamed that they fell out with a light tap …
“That little tap suggests that perhaps someone gave you just a little nudge to get this information out of you rather than you offering it up freely. For example, when you have a secret, or someone’s told you something, some kind of juicy gossip, you’ll hold it in. But if someone kind of brings it up, ‘Do you know anything?,’ gives you a little nudge, and then you spill the beans, that’s tapping.”

If they started splintering and splitting apart in the dream …
Like crumbling teeth, Loewenberg warns that this might also have to do with weak speech. “Then again, there’s a reason why it’s splintering or splitting as opposed to crumbling. The splitting could be compared to what you said the day before in an argument with someone where you were to the point [of] just splitting hairs. If you’re getting down to way too much detail that’s unnecessary at that point.”

If pieces of your teeth started chipping off …
Out of all the dreams of teeth falling out, Loewenberg says this is the one that she personally gets most frequently. “That would also be about not giving enough information. For example, I think I get it a lot because I go on the radio a lot and I explain dreams a lot. But I’ll get that teeth-chipping-off dream when I feel like I haven’t given enough information, like I feel like I didn’t explain myself well enough. I don’t feel like the person I was talking to fully understands what I was trying to explain to them.”

If you dreamed that your teeth started to grow crooked and push themselves out of your mouth …
“In this case, this will really affect how you look. A lot of times in these dreams when the teeth are coming out or whatever’s going on with the teeth, we’ll look in the mirror because we have concern about how we look now. So that one would very much be you having anxiety about how you may now appear to others after what has been said. The crookedness also could be connected to lies.”

If they started to rot …
“Rotting teeth can be one of two things. It can be connected to something that’s old, a kind of argument or grudge or situation that you’ve been discussing the previous day that’s old, and you’re getting tired of it. You’re subconscious is expressing that in the form of rotting teeth. It’s like we’ve gone over this a million times this is getting old. But it can also be connected to guilt over saying something that was really rotten and nasty.”

If you dreamed that your teeth started retreating back into your gums …
“That one is big-time connected to really wishing you could take back what you said. You wish you could just erase it. ‘Ugh, I can’t believe that I said that, what can I do to take this back?’ That one also can be fear of speaking up. I’m afraid to speak up about whatever this issue is. So instead of letting it out, I’m like pulling back completely.”

If your mouth was full of loose teeth in your dream …
“That one is where there is something that you need to speak up about but you haven’t yet. It’s like, I need to say this, I really need to speak up about this, I really need to confront this person about this, but you haven’t done it yet. You’re like on the verge, you’re so ready to. That’s why they’re loose. But you haven’t done it yet. At this point, your subconscious is presenting it to you in this way, so you can decide, Okay, is it best to go ahead and speak up about this or to keep my mouth shut? What is the best way to approach this?”

If they started falling out while you were in the middle of a difficult task …
“Of course, it would also depend on the task you’re doing, because every little detail matters. But if you’re in the process of doing something difficult and your teeth fall out and they’re not the entire focus of the dream, this could also be connected to not just communication but also action in real life that you’re having difficulty with. A lot of times when we face difficult issues, we don’t do anything. When you’re actively trying to tackle that difficult situation in real life — hence you’re dealing with something difficult in a dream — you’re actively trying to fix it and your teeth fall out, [it] could be a message from your subconscious to keep this to yourself, just work on this alone and don’t be complaining and gossiping about it.”

If they fell out in your dream and you couldn’t find them …
Loewenberg says that this could mean you’re having trouble finding the right words. “You know there’s something you need to say but you don’t know how to say it. How can I say this? Let me find the right words. Since the teeth have already come out, this could be trying to find the right words to correct what you’ve messed up by speaking without thinking.”

If you dreamed that they fell out while you were hooking up with someone…
“You know how they say less is more? This type of dream could happen when you’ve talked way too much in a conversation. For example, sex in a dream actually isn’t about the physical act of sex, it’s more about connecting with someone on an emotional or psychological level. So this could indicate that you’ve had some kind of connection with someone with intimate conversation. But now you’re overthinking it, and thinking, Oh, maybe I shouldn’t have said this, oh, I said too much of that, but your dream is trying to reassure [you that] you guys connected, don’t worry about it.”

The takeaway: If you’re having dreams where your teeth are falling out, Loewenberg says that your subconscious is trying to help you improve your communication skills. To start tackling the root of the dreams, Loewenberg recommends that you begin keeping a dream journal.

“I recommend writing your day-journal part on the left side of your journal and your dreams on the right side so you can have them next to each other and more easily connect the dots between what happened in your day to see how that affected what you dreamt that night.” This is a way for you to track patterns in your behavior and how your communication may be affecting your dreams.

The bottom line? “If you’re getting the teeth dream a lot, really examine how well or how poorly you’re communicating with others,” advises Loewenberg. “Do you need to listen more? Do you need to work on expressing yourself more? Do you need to speak up more? Do you need to be more confident in what you say? Do you need to be more tactful? All these little clues in your dreams are going to tell you that.”

Read more about dreams on the Cut, including why you dream about your ex.

15 Reasons You Dream About Teeth Falling Out, Losing Teeth