Fun + Inspiration

5 reasons for nightmares about your teeth

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night, startled by a dream that your teeth are falling out or rotting? Nearly 2 in 5 people say they’ve had this dream.It’s so common, it’s even been featured in movies such as Disney’s “Inside Out.” But what does this dream mean? Let's look at five possible explanations.



1. Worrying more than usual can cause nightmares. In fact, feeling a lot of stress, fear and anxiety can disrupt your daily life both while you’re sleeping and when you’re awake. See page 4 for advice on how to manage stress and protect your oral and overall health.



2. Grinding your teeth can lead to dreams about your teeth falling out. Teeth grinding, called bruxism, is also linked to stress. Reducing your intake of caffeine and alcohol, especially before bed, can help you stop grinding your teeth while you sleep. Your dentist may also suggest wearing a mouth guard at night to protect your teeth from further damage.



3. Experiencing major life changes such as a new baby, graduation or moving somewhere new can spur dreams about losing your teeth. Develop a routine to help yourself better adjust to the new situation. Just don’t forget to continue brushing and flossing as part of that new routine.



4. Losing baby teeth may cause children to dream about it. Reassure your kids that these changes are natural. Help them prepare for a visit from the Tooth Fairy and use this as an opportunity to teach about the importance of good oral health habits.



5. Falling behind on self-care can show up in your dreams. Use these frightful dreams as motivation to develop healthier habits, including getting enough sleep, maintaining a well-balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly.



Research has shown a connection between dreams and reality. Study participants who had a dream about their teeth falling out or rotting felt some irritation in their teeth, gums or jaw when they woke up. Managing your stress levels and maintaining good oral and overall health routines can help reduce the frequency of these dreams.