The tooth fairy is a relatively new addition to the mythological character club (probably called SoHoHoHo House), joining the likes of Santa and the Easter Bunny sometime during the last century — but children have been losing their teeth since the birth of humankind, and there are many different burial traditions to prove it. To celebrate National Tooth Fairy Day, we’re exploring how cultures around the world dispose of their dearly departed baby teeth.
1. The Tooth… Mouse?
In France, French-speaking countries and many other countries around the world, children believe a mythological mouse retrieves their lost teeth at night. French-speaking countries call this tooth-loving Mickey, “La Petite Souris,” while children in Spain call him, “Ratóncito Pérez.”
2. Here comes the sun on baby teeth.
Children throw their lost teeth towards the sun in Egypt, Libya, and Oman, hoping that the star itself will send them a stronger tooth in return.
3. Raise the tooth roof.
In China, lower baby teeth are thrown on the roof, while upper baby teeth are buried in the ground. This superstition is carried out to make sure new teeth come in quickly.
4. This one is a little gross so holding off on the cute caption.
In Kyrgyzstan, children wrap their teeth in food (often times bread) and feed it to an animal. They believe this will allow their tooth to be replaced with a stronger permanent tooth.
5. Online trolls have nothing on tooth trolls.
If Finnish children eat too much candy, they’re told that the Hammaspeikko (or tooth troll) will come to drill holes in their teeth. It’s basically the dental equivalent of Krampus. Luckily, the children are also told that brushing their teeth will scare the trolls away. Good thing we ship brush head refills for free internationally!
6. Slippery tooth slope.
In South Africa, children put their lost baby teeth in a slipper for a mouse to replace it with a small gift. Apparently mice are the official dental mascot?
7. Tooth powers.
Want your child to be the President? Bury their baby teeth in the White House’s Rose Garden, at least according to some Turkish parents. Parents in Turkey bury their children’s baby teeth in a meaningful place that communicates wishes for their child’s life.