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What Do Different Cultures Do With Baby Teeth?

We dental health professionals tend to be big fans of the Tooth Fairy.

We can remember leaving a baby tooth under the pillow and looking forward to finding a nice reward the next morning. Other parts of the world have their own fascinating traditions with baby teeth too.

How About a Tooth Mouse?

Many European and Latin-American countries have a Tooth Mouse instead of a Tooth Fairy. She’s called La Petite Souris (“the little mouse”) in France, and “Raton Perez” in Spanish-speaking countries, and the Tooth Mouse swaps teeth under pillows for little gifts or money.

Toss Teeth for Luck

In China and Japan, kids toss their lower baby teeth upwards and their upper baby teeth downwards (or bury them) as a symbol of their hope that their adult teeth will grow in strong and in the right position.

Medieval Superstition

Medieval Europeans used to bury or burn baby teeth so that witches couldn’t use them against the person and so they wouldn’t impact their afterlife. Our Tooth Fairy tradition originated from much later European folklore, with the version we recognize developing in the early 1900s with the help of Disney’s popular fairy characters.

What Are Your Baby Teeth Traditions?

One important thing all these traditions does is help kids feel more excited about the sometimes-scary process of losing baby teeth. Does your family do something different with baby teeth? We’d love to hear more of our patients’ traditions. And no matter what your traditions are, make sure you’re taking great care of baby and adult teeth alike!

Bring us your questions about dental care!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.