Here in the United States, it is a time-honored tradition that when a child loses a tooth, he or she gets a little reward overnight – usually, a small amount of money left under the pillow – from the “Tooth Fairy.”
It’s a tale that never grows old for children in this country, but did you ever wonder what the rest of the world’s children do with their lost teeth? Is the Tooth Fairy a worldwide tradition?
Many children outside the U.S. follow the same folklore of the “Tooth Fairy” and place each lost tooth under their pillow at night and wake to find a reward. It’s a well-known and celebrated tradition in our culture, but elsewhere in the world the folklore and customs can be a little bit different … from a mouse who comes to take the teeth away to a tradition of tossing baby teeth onto the roof.
In Hispanic countries and cultures, you’ll find “Ratoncito Pérez” (Perez the Mouse) or, as it’s known in parts of Mexico, “El Ratón de Los Dientes” (the Tooth Mouse). This furry “Tooth Fairy” leaves a reward under the pillow, just like his friend from the U.S.!
Instead of putting a tooth under their pillow for the “Tooth Fairy,” children in South Africa put it in a slipper. In some Asian countries, children toss their lost teeth on the roof of their home if it comes from their lower jaw or into a space below the floor for one that comes from the upper jaw. In some Middle Eastern countries, the custom is to throw a baby tooth toward the sky (or sun) in deference to Allah.
So, wherever you go in the world, you’re likely to find an interesting lost-tooth tradition. Regardless of what children do with their missing teeth, however, it’s important to get them started with good oral hygiene habits from a young age so that when the “Tooth Fairy” takes away their baby teeth, the adult teeth can stay strong and healthy.
If you don’t have a dentist, consider calling the full-service Naples Implant & Laser Dental Center (239-261-8200). We can help you take care of your mouth and achieve a healthier smile.