The meaning of the dream symbol: Teeth

Teeth may symbolize aggressiveness.


In the dream sense, a loss of Teeth refers to our feelings about aging and death, especially in a dream involving the loss of teeth or the rotting of teeth. Moreover, the conceptualization of bad teeth may refer to our fears about poverty or inadequacy in a relationship or social situation involving status. We may be illustrating feelings of ineptitude in our occupation, social sphere interaction, or even in maintaining the responsibilities of our family life. In this sense, a sort of forward regression may be taking place where we view ourselves obsolete in our present environment. Accordingly, the image of perfectly intact teeth may imply hunger, aggression and sexuality which seeks to bite into present realities.


The Bambara draw a correspondence between teeth and eyes, both being similarly associated with concepts of intellect and the universe.

The Bambara separate the teeth into three groups - incisors, canines and molars - with different symbolic functions. ‘The incisors stand for fame and renown. They appear in the foreground when the lips are parted in laughter and hence are also a sign of happiness and are regarded as giving speech a cheerful and youthful attraction.’ The canines are a sign of hard work as well as of relentlessness and of hatred. The molars, ‘symbols of protection’, are a sign of endurance and perseverance and ‘those with strong molars are regarded as sticking obstinately to their opinions’.

Toothlessness is the sign of the loss of youth and of the loss of the strength both to attack and to defend oneself: it is a symbol of frustration, castration and bankruptcy. It is the loss of the life force, since healthy, well-furnished jaws are evidence of manly strength and self-confidence.

In Vedic tradition, the teeth are endowed with much the same significance, and especially the canines, of which the aggressive strength needs to be controlled.

In Ireland, literary sources show the wisdom tooth being used in a spell known as the teinm laegda, or poetic enlightenment. The second-sighted bard or hero placed his thumb on his wisdom tooth, bit it, sang a verse and offered sacrifice to the gods.

Persian love-poetry is like that of Europe in comparing the teeth with pearls or with the fixed stars, as well as with hail-stones.

Teeth are the instruments whereby their owner takes possession of something and even assimilates it. They are millstones which grind to provide a food for the desires.

Teeth symbolize the power of chewing and the aggressiveness which originates from the promptings of physical desire. Dragon’s teeth represent the aggressiveness of a perverted lust for domination which grinds to destruction. Iron men sprang up when the dragon’s teeth were sown. These were men whose souls were so hardened by their belief in their predestination to power that they fought to the death among themselves to sate their ambitions.

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