Published By: Jayati

Your child lost their first tooth? Explore magical ‘Tooth Fairy’ myths from around the world together!

There's still innocence and magic alive in our world!

When your kid's first tooth gets loose, it's an exciting moment for the family. It's the time when your child might anticipate a visit from the famous Tooth Fairy, a tiny winged creature in sparkly clothes from the United States! This fairy discreetly takes lost teeth from under pillows and leaves money or a small toy. However, not every kid worldwide believes in the same tooth fairy, as they have their own versions of 'tooth fairy' tales! So, today, let's explore the original Tooth Fairy story and discover some tooth fairy myths from around the world!

What's the origin of the Tooth Fairy? 

Researchers suggest that modern "tooth fairy" customs, observed in the United States, Canada, England, Australia, and Denmark, blend the "tooth mouse" myth with the concept of a "good fairy" from English children's literature, further popularised by media like Disney movies. The excitement and mystery surrounding this character provide children with a distraction from the discomfort of losing a tooth, along with a bit of extra pocket money. Kids stash their baby teeth under the pillow or in a glass of water, and the Tooth Fairy quietly swaps them for a coin or two. But hey, Tooth Fairy, maybe it's time for a raise with all this global inflation messing around!

What? A magical mouse for the teeth? 

In various countries worldwide, kids hold on to the Tooth Mouse tradition. In places like Spain, Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Chile, and Mexico, lost teeth go under the pillow, awaiting a visit from “El Ratoncito Perez” or a similar version that translates to the "mouse who collects teeth." While kids in Argentina take a unique approach, placing teeth in a glass and anticipating a magical, thirsty rodent's visit that leaves a surprise while they sleep! 

France and Switzerland have their own rodent, La Petit Souris (“Little Mouse”), whisking away baby teeth in exchange for cash or candy. South Africa opts for a slipper as the tooth repository, expecting a gift from the Tooth Mouse. In some other countries, kids offer their baby teeth to the Tooth Mouse with no expectation, simply counting on the promise of a robust, healthy replacement in the future.

Talking about a flying tooth? 

In Greece, Vietnam, Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, and China, the tooth-losing tradition takes a fascinating turn. Kids toss their baby teeth on the roof when they fall out. In Greece, they wait for a mouse or pig to retrieve it, while young Sri Lankans anticipate a squirrel. In India, the hope is for a sparrow's return bearing a new tooth. Cherokee Indian children have a unique ritual of throwing the tooth on the roof and chanting, “Beaver, put a new tooth in my jaw!” four times! 

In parts of Africa, lost upper teeth land on the roof, while lost lower teeth find a home in the ground. The reverse happens in East Asia, where lower teeth go on the roof and upper teeth are buried, thrown on the ground, or hidden under the bed.

Moving to the Middle East, countries like Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt encourage kids to toss their teeth up towards the sky. In Brazil, children throw teeth outside for birds, believing the birds will only take them if they're clean! Meanwhile, in El Salvador, kids expect a rabbit to snatch their tooth, and surprisingly, cleanliness doesn't seem to be a factor in this tooth-collecting adventure!

Did you know, teeth play a vital role in family heritage? 

In some Central American countries, a unique tradition involves crafting jewellery from lost baby teeth. This practice is believed to have its roots in ancient Viking customs, where items belonging to children were considered powerful, symbolising good luck, and sometimes even carried into battle. 

Moving to the Yellowknives Dene First Nation tribe of Canada, their children give lost teeth to their mother or grandmother, who then places the tooth in a tree. The family comes together to dance around the tree, hoping to encourage the new tooth to grow as straight as the trunk. It's a cultural journey that connects generations in a special way. 

So, losing a tooth is like opening a door to a world of enchantment! It's not just a routine, but a global canvas painted with unique rituals, each carrying its own touch of magic and a hint of mystery. These traditions are like whispers of stories from around the world, telling us that magic is still alive and well!