Picture it: You’re standing at the head of your 7th grade glass, about to give a presentation on the history of the Supreme Court. You panic, because you feel unprepared. Didn’t you graduate middle school years ago? Just then, your teeth begin falling out onto the floor.
You abruptly wake up. Sigh. Just a dream! The next morning, you review the dream in your mind. The school presentation most likely represents a present-day life challenge you aren’t ready to tackle, but what about your sudden dental catastrophe?
Turns out, losing your teeth in a dream is a very common representation of feelings of anxiety or unpreparedness about current events in your life. Depending on how exactly you perceive losing teeth in a dream might indicate different subconscious feelings. Seeing them fall out while looking in a mirror relates to stress or feelings of powerlessness at home or at work, while crumbling teeth may represent fears about aging or self-worth.
Why Good Oral Health is Tied to Positive Self-Image
It seems fitting that teeth so often represent self-image and the ability to face life challenges in our dreams. After all, studies have confirmed that the two are linked, whether you’re dead asleep or going about your daily life. Research published in the Journal of Community Health Nursing in 2006 found that of 86 participants in an open-ended question survey, 58 of them had minor dental problems, and 28 had major dental problems. 53% of these same participants reported having low self-esteem.
Yellowing and crooked teeth or persistent bad breath are just a few of the reasons people might feel self-conscious about smiling or even talking for long periods of time. This self-conscious behavior can result in making fewer connections with others, creating a vicious pattern which perpetuates low self-esteem.
An article from WikiHow presents tips for those who fear they have bad teeth. Advice includes practicing a smile that looks natural but also doesn’t reveal too much of their “bad” teeth. Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it? For better results, the article encourages people to consider having their teeth fixed to improve their confidence when smiling.
On the flip side, when you have a healthy smile, you aren’t prone to the same anxieties about showing off your teeth or talking to others. Instead, it makes you feel happy and relaxed. This behavior also makes it easier for others to bond with you.
Get Your Smile & Confidence Back
If you’re self-conscious about your teeth, improving your oral health can improve some of the issues you may have. That includes doing the following:
- Maintaining proper brushing techniques
- Flossing daily
- Using mouthwash to rid the mouth of unwanted bacteria
- Avoiding foods that stain your teeth, creating a yellowing effect
- Seeing your dentist regularly for cleanings and check-ups
If you have a dental issue that has become too severe to address through oral hygiene alone, it’s time to get your dental professionals involved. Gum disease can cause your smile to deteriorate, your teeth to move, and your gums to bleed, among other symptoms, none of which is good for your smile or self-esteem. Not to mention, gum disease has been linked to other more “serious” diseases that could negatively impact your overall health. It’s important for you to seek help from your dentist if you are suffering from gum disease before it gets worse.
For many years, the only option to treat gum disease were painful procedures using scalpels and sewing. Most people don’t want to undergo these surgeries, which is why they may grin and bear (pun intended) their less-than-perfect smiles despite its negative effects on their self-esteem. Recently, the FDA cleared the LANAP® protocol as a laser surgery option that facilitates a less painful, more successful treatment with a shorter recovery time. That means it’s now easier than ever to fix your smile without having to subject yourself to unnecessary pain (For more information on the FDA-cleared LANAP protocol, visit www.LANAP.com).
The bottom line is the quality of your smile can play a big role in how you feel about yourself, which in turn plays a role in how others perceive you. Ensuring proper oral hygiene, visiting the dentist twice a year and treating gum disease as early as possible are steps within your control to make sure your teeth stay healthy. Don’t let that nightmare about your teeth falling out become your reality.
“Teeth Dreams.” www.dreamdictionary.org. Web. 13 July 2016. <http://www.dreamdictionary.org/common/teeth-dreams/ >
Barnard, Chris. “What Does a Healthy Smile Look Like?” dentalpatientnews.com. 19 August 2014. Web. 13 July 2016. <http://dentalpatientnews.com/what-does-a-healthy-smile-look-like/>
Huff, Marlene; Elizabeth Kinion et al. “Self-Esteem: A Hidden Concern in Oral Health.” Journal of Community Health Nursing. 23 (2006). Found online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/s15327655jchn2304_5
“How to Smile When You Think You Have Bad Teeth.” www.wikihow.com. Web. 13 July 2016. <http://www.wikihow.com/Smile-when-You-Think-You-Have-Bad-Teeth>