5 reasons for nightmares about your teeth

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night because you dreamed your teeth were falling out or rotting? Nearly two in five people say they’ve had this dream. It’s so common that it’s even been featured in movies such as Disney’s Inside Out.

So what do dental nightmares 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. Fortunately, our own Dr. Dill has 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 mouthguard 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 be sources of stress and spur dreams about losing your teeth. To help adjust to the new situation, try setting and following a routine. Just make sure regular brushing and flossing is part of that new routine!



4. Losing baby teeth may cause children to dream about losing other teeth. 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 them about the importance of good oral health habits.



5. Neglecting your self-care can show up in your dreams. Recommitting to your physical, mental and emotional health can help end these upsetting dreams. Make sure that you’re getting enough sleep, maintaining a well-balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly.

Nightmares about teeth can be frightening, but managing your stress levels and maintaining good oral and overall health routines can help reduce the frequency of these dreams. Taking steps to ensure your health today is an investment that will pay off for years to come, and a great way to rest easy at night.

Research has found a connection between dreams and reality. Study participants who dreamed about their teeth falling out or rotting actually felt some irritation in their teeth, gums or jaw when they woke up.