Unusual Dental Traditions From Around the World

Clip art of the American Tooth Fairy with a purple dress, wand, crown, and a lost baby tooth in her hand

The loss of baby teeth is an exciting time for children and their caregivers alike! After temporary teeth fall out, permanent adult teeth grow in to take up residence in a child’s growing mouth. Therefore, it is critical that children develop a habit of daily dental hygiene early to promote healthy baby teeth now and healthy adult teeth later.

The Tooth Fairy

In the United States and other primarily English-speaking countries, a much-anticipated ritual that encourages a child’s interest in their teeth is the visit of the Tooth Fairy, a “fairy” who leaves money or a small gift under a child’s pillow while they sleep in exchange for their lost baby tooth. However, children all over the world lose their teeth! Read on to discover the interesting teeth-centric traditions from other countries.

Tooth Toss

Greece

When children lose teeth in Greece, it is customary to make a wish for strong adult teeth as they throw their lost baby teeth onto the roof, which is thought to bring good luck.

India, China, Vietnam & Korea

In these countries, the traditional tossing of the teeth is slightly modified. Lower teeth are thrown onto the roof, but upper teeth are placed on or in the ground so a new straight tooth will be guided to grow in correctly towards the old baby tooth. Some even believe that an incorrect toss will result in the adult tooth growing in crookedly.

Middle East

In countries such as Egypt, Libya, Oman, Iraq, and Jordan, kids hurl their lost baby teeth towards the sky so the sun will grant them a brighter smile by sending their new tooth.

Closeup of a copper-colored mouse with black eyes standing on a wooden fence next to some green leaves

A Generous Mouse

Spain

In exchange for their baby teeth, children of Spain receive gifts from Ratoncito Pérez, also known as El Raton de Los Dientes. This tradition has its roots in the 19th century when Friar Luis Coloma wrote a children’s story about a friendly teeth-collecting mouse that lived near the Royal Palace to ease the fears of eight-year-old Alonso XIII, future king of Spain, when he lost his first tooth.

France

Like Spain, France has its own mouse that collects teeth, called La Bonne Petite Souris. The Little Good Mouse takes children’s lost teeth out from under their pillows and replaces them with gifts or money.

Jamaica

Jamaican folklore regarding losing baby teeth also involves a rodent. Children will chant for “Ratta Ratta” to take their old tooth and bring a new one.

Come See Us to Promote Healthy Teeth!

At your child’s dental checkup every six months, we will provide tips and instructions for proper brushing and flossing technique. Our Arizona Biltmore Dentistry team knows how to give kid-friendly explanations, and will strive to make your child feel at ease. We understand that positive dental experiences in childhood is the key to a lifetime of outstanding oral health. Contact us to schedule your child’s next appointment!

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