The question of the week: why do we dream that we lose our teeth?

In dreams, anything is possible. As Google celebrates Sigmund Freud’s 160th birthday on May 6, let’s take a look at this sleepy world dear to the father of psychoanalysis. Dreams, like nightmares, are sometimes so intense that they leave an aftertaste when you wake up. And, curiously, certain dreams come up regularly and concern almost everyone. Who has never lost their teeth in a dream, one by one, in a constant flow or pulled out?

Losing your teeth is actually a very common dream. Like falling out of control, public nudity or the inability to scream, being toothless is what our dear Freud calls a “typical dream”, namely common and recurring. And on the meaning of dreams, everyone goes with their “house” interpretation. The legend would even like this dream to be a harbinger of the death of a loved one.

More seriously, looking at academic sources, this interpretation is often described as quick and far-fetched. Rest assured, therefore: you will not kill a priori person by losing (for fake) your canines in your sleep. Despite the many readings of this dream, often seen as iconic, three explanations seem to stand out. And overall, losing your teeth doesn’t bode well for you.

The fear of change
All academics agree that losing one’s teeth represents an anxiety linked to change. According
Carl Gustav Jung
founder of analytical psychology, this dream means that the individual is afraid of losing something (his teeth) and
change position
. This dream would refer to the fall of baby teeth in childhood, which represents the transition to adolescence. Losing your teeth would therefore be the expression of a major personal change, associated with a feeling of discomfort (losing your teeth is never really a cakewalk).

An anguish of death
A little further, the thinkers see in this disaster scenario a fear of perishing in subtext. For the
Dr. Jean-Michel Crabbe
author of the book The diary of my nights (Editions R. Laffont), losing your teeth is the manifestation of an “unnatural and dangerous” situation. He illustrates: “Deprived of teeth, infants and old people are passive and they depend on those around them”. Teeth are also a very strong social attribute: we talk, we smile, we eat with them. The enamel would therefore be a symbol of life which, in this case, would escape.

A feeling of sexual helplessness
This is the most convoluted and defended interpretation… by Freud of course! The teeth would be the representation of
the sexual apparatus
. They are indeed the first experience of “loss” in the child, at the age when he discovers his sexuality. The fall of the quenottes would therefore be associated with the shame of repressed fantasies. And if the teeth represent a phallus or a vagina, losing them would symbolize sexual impotence. Even further, the psychoanalyst defends that the dreamer unconsciously associates the expression “tooth wanking” with the verb “to wank”, and therefore with

The meaning of dreams is a great enigma that has given rise to many interpretations. Specialists of the dream world, however, have converging theories. The first level of reading: the fall of the teeth represents a change of course in the dreamer’s life and indicates discomfort linked to this upheaval.

Then, the loss of teeth can symbolize a more existential fear: the anguish of death. Finally, the teeth could represent sexuality and augur a certain shame of oneself, coupled with a feeling of powerlessness. Rest assured, however, and never forget this: after all, it’s just a nasty nightmare.

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The question of the week: why do we dream that we lose our teeth?

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