7 Fascinating Tooth Fairy Traditions From Around the World

Tooth fairy around the world

The tooth fairy is a fun tradition that keeps children excited about the development of their bodies, providing a reward as they lose their baby teeth. But traditions vary worldwide, and you might be surprised to learn how other cultures celebrate the loss of baby teeth.

Discover the wide variety in baby teeth traditions.

1. A Visit from the Tooth Mouse

France, Spain, and a number of Latin American countries have a story not all that different from the tooth fairy. Often referred to as El Ratoncito Pérez, La Petite Souris, or other variations, this tradition tells of children being visited, not by a fairy, but by a little mouse.

Aside from that difference, the tooth mouse is nearly identical to the tooth fairy. A child will hide their lost tooth under their pillow, and the mouse sneaks in and takes the tooth away in the middle of the night, leaving money or another prize for the child. In some versions, the child leaves the tooth in a glass of water beside the bed.

2. Throwing Baby Teeth Onto the Roof

In some countries, families celebrate their children’s growth by throwing lost baby teeth onto the roof. This tradition is honored in many different countries, each with its own variations. 

In Greece, a mouse or other small animal is said to retrieve the tooth from the roof. In some countries, including India, China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, only the teeth from the lower jaw go on the roof. Those from the upper jaw are put on the floor or buried. Families will do this symbolically to draw the upper teeth down and the lower teeth up, helping them emerge successfully.

3. Sending the Tooth Down the Mousehole

While some traditions have mice or other animals visiting a child’s home to take a tooth, others have the child bring it to the mouse. In many cultures, children will leave their teeth near a mouse hole or other animal dwelling with the hope of growing teeth as strong as the animal’s.

In Afghanistan, children drop the tooth into a mouse hole or other burrowing animal’s dwelling. Other countries have similar traditions focused on squirrels and other animals known for strong teeth.

4. Making Tooth Earrings

Some cultures hang on to baby teeth rather than giving them away to the tooth fairy or small rodents. For example, many South American countries follow the tradition of turning baby teeth into jewelry. This might not sound too fashionable, but when the teeth receive a coating of silver, gold, or other metals, they make for intriguing pieces.

5. Throwing Baby Teeth at the Sun

While some traditions dictate certain hiding places for teeth, others take a freer approach. Some cultures throw the tooth upward into the sky and toward the sun. This tradition is common throughout Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt, where it is believed to date back nearly 1000 years.

Other cultures throw the tooth in the air hoping that a bird will catch the tooth. Some Latin American countries engage in this tradition alongside the roof tradition, with significant overlap.

6. Hiding the Tooth in a Shoe

The tooth mouse tradition has spread to many parts of the world, including several African countries. There, the tradition is very similar to its French and Spanish roots, except the hiding place for the baby tooth isn’t under a pillow.

Countries such as South Africa and Eswatini engage in the tooth mouse tradition by hiding the baby tooth in a shoe or slipper before going to bed. Parents will then swap out various prizes (including candy) for the tooth.

7. A Treat for a Pet

While we certainly don’t recommend the practice, some Central Asian nations still engage in the tradition of feeding lost baby teeth to dogs or other pets. The tooth is wrapped in meat or another treat.

This tradition is done in the hope of the child developing strong teeth like the dog or other animal. Another similar tradition involves planting the tooth by a tree in the hopes of growing strong roots.

Get your kids excited about oral health.

Tell your children about these fascinating traditions to encourage them to be more enthusiastic about their dental health. You can also share some interesting facts and trivia about their teeth. Another way to encourage your kids to stay healthy is to choose the right Vancouver dentist for kids.

Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry provides a comfortable experience and quality care as your Vancouver dentist for kids. Your child will have a great foundation for lifelong oral health by building a trusting relationship with their dentist. Book an appointment today to see the difference we can make for your child.