If you’ve ever dreamed about your teeth falling out, you may be familiar with just how unsettling those dreams can be. About 39% of people have had dreams about their teeth falling out, rotting, or breaking at least once, and 16% have these dreams on a recurring basis.

We explore possible meanings behind dreaming about your teeth falling out and when to seek professional help.

Recent Loss or Grief

Many people believe that a vivid dream of teeth falling out can symbolize a recent loss of something important, like a job, relationship, or loved one. Teeth are essential and used daily to eat. If they literally fell out in waking life, that would be a traumatic event and serious loss. When they fall out in dream life, it might indicate that a person feels like they’ve lost something essential.

Researchers haven’t specifically studied if loss is associated with teeth-loss dreams. But, some believe that dreams take real-life experiences and represent them through emotional and figurative images, which gives credibility to the idea.


Because teeth are so essential, some people believe that dreaming about losing them may represent jealousy over the possibility that something important could be taken away. Research has found that real-life jealousy can translate into dreams involving jealousy or sexual infidelity, but it doesn’t appear that researchers have studied a connection between jealousy and teeth-loss dreams yet.

Increased Stress

Since a dream about teeth falling out usually feels negative, it may indicate a person is under increased stress. Generally, studies suggest that people experience more bad dreams and nightmares when they are under stress. For example, people had more bad dreams — including teeth-loss dreams — at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when lives were disrupted by lockdowns, social isolation was more common, and the future felt uncertain.

Lack of Control

Another popular interpretation of dreams that involve teeth falling out is that they represent a sense that a person is losing control. Some research does lend credibility to this idea. Many studies suggest that dreams can help people gain insight into their emotions, and having teeth fall out could feel like things are out of control. One study found that college students who had teeth-loss dreams were also more likely to feel a loss of control over their lives.

Big Life Changes

Many people have posited that teeth-loss dreams indicate a person is experiencing major life changes. While this concept hasn’t been studied by researchers, it could make sense. Many people lose their teeth twice as part of a major transition: once from early childhood into older childhood and again in older adulthood. Such transitions often feel jarring, which is why some people think teeth loss dreams are more likely to occur around transitions like a graduation or pregnancy.

Another possible explanation for a dream of teeth falling out is that the dream represents a fear the person has about their health. Perhaps they suspect they are becoming sick or simply fear the future possibility of illness. 

Researchers have found that dreams often represent health-related fears in more dramatic, metaphorical ways. For example, someone who fears catching a virus might dream about something that looks more dramatic, like teeth falling out or the body disintegrating into sand.

Is There a More Scientific Explanation?

Some researchers believe that people dream about their teeth falling out because they are experiencing sensations in their teeth as they dream. Research has also found that real bodily sensations experienced during sleep made their way into people’s dreams in the form of pain.  

A person might feel sensations in their teeth while asleep because they are grinding their teeth or clenching their jaw, which is common. More research is needed to figure out if other teeth issues, like sensitive teeth, sore gums, or toothaches might prompt teeth-loss dreams.

Dreams of teeth falling out have often been linked to stress or anxiety, which could also tie into the teeth sensations hypothesis. If stress leads to teeth grinding, then teeth grinding might be the reason stress leads to teeth-loss dreams. However, this hasn’t been widely studied, and one study found that dreams of losing teeth were not connected to psychological distress.

What to Do If You Frequently Dream About Your Teeth Falling Out

Dreams about teeth falling out are common and, on their own, are not a reason to worry or take any particular action. But, if you experience frequent teeth-loss dreams or experience distressing teeth-loss nightmares, you might want to contact a professional.

A dentist could help you discover if your dreams of losing teeth stem from teeth grinding or other tooth or gum issues. A therapist could help you identify if you’re experiencing nightmares as a result of a mental health condition, like depression or an anxiety disorder.

There is some evidence to suggest that improving sleep quality by practicing healthy sleep habits may reduce nightmares . Healthy sleep habits involve avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the evening, going to sleep and waking up around the same time each day, avoiding screens near bedtime, and sleeping in a dark, quiet room of a comfortable temperature.

Learn more about our Editorial Team

6 Sources

  1. Rozen, N., & Soffer-Dudek, N. (2018). Dreams of teeth falling out: An empirical investigation of physiological and psychological correlates. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1812.

  2. Shao, X., Wang, C., Jia, Y., & Wang, W. (2020). Sexual dream and family relationships in frequent sexual dreamers and healthy volunteers. Medicine, 99(36), e21981.

  3. Solomonova, E., Picard-Deland, C., Rapoport, I. L., Pennestri, M. H., Saad, M., Kendzerska, T., Veissiere, S. P. L., Godbout, R., Edwards, J. D., Quilty, L., & Robillard, R. (2021). Stuck in a lockdown: Dreams, bad dreams, nightmares, and their relationship to stress, depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. PloS One, 16(11), e0259040.

  4. Šćepanović, S., Aiello, L. M., Barrett, D., & Quercia, D. (2022). Epidemic dreams: Dreaming about health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Royal Society Open Science, 9(1), 211080.

  5. Coolidge, F. L., & Bracken, D. D. (1984). The loss of teeth in dreams: An empirical investigation. Psychological Reports, 54(3), 931–935.

  6. Nielsen, T. A., McGregor, D. L., Zadra, A., Ilnicki, D., & Ouellet, L. (1993). Pain in dreams. Sleep, 16(5), 490–498.


Learn More About Dreams

False Awakenings

By Danielle Pacheco May 8, 2024

Lucid Dream Masks: Do They Work?

By Sarah Shoen May 3, 2024

How to Interpret Your Dreams

By Jay Summer May 2, 2024

Recurring Dreams

By Jay Summer May 2, 2024

What Do Sex Dreams Mean?

By Jay Summer February 14, 2024

Vivid Dreams Explained

By Lucy Bryan February 9, 2024

What Does It Mean When You Dream About Your Ex?

By Danielle Pacheco February 2, 2024

How Trauma Affects Dreams

By Rob Newsom January 3, 2024