Dreams about your teeth falling out are among the most common nightmares that we have. Roughly 40% of the population experience teeth dreams with 16% saying they were recurring.
Mental health experts have been studying these dreams for over a century. Psychoanalysts have long attributed them to stress and anxiety, specifically a perceived loss of control over a situation.
In as early as 1900, Sigmund Freud and others put forth the very simple hypothesis that teeth dreams were tied to teeth grinding and jaw clenching. But it wasn't until around 2000 that researchers started to really examine the correlation between bruxism and tooth dreams.
These more recent studies have uncovered that those with bruxism are more likely to have these dreams. Furthermore, dental irritation (tension in the teeth, gums, and jaws) is heightened during these dreams.
These studies have profound implications for how dreams are produced and influenced. They suggest that the origin of some dreams are physiological rather than psychological.
That bruxism is often caused by stress and anxiety further complicates this analysis. And these recent studies did not rule out other factors that could contribute, including dental aches and pains. They also only factored for psychological stress in the last month (versus over the lifetime of the test subject).
All in all, the significance of teeth dreams is still not completely understood. Its close relation with bruxism however seems to be well established.
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