The Tooth Fairy
We’re all familiar with the legend of the tooth fairy: once a child’s tooth has fallen out they are to place it under their pillow for the tooth fairy to collect. When they wake in the morning they will find the tooth is no longer there, but instead a coin has been left for the child to enjoy. But, as we’re about to find out, the tooth fairy isn’t found in every country around the world…
Raton De Los Dientes (The Tooth Mouse)
While the tooth fairy visits most English-speaking countries, the tooth mouse is her friendly Spanish-speaking counterpart. The mouse, mostly referred to as Ratoncito Perez, tends to be found in Spain, and other Spanish-speaking countries such as Argentina, Colombia and Peru. Ratoncito Perez scurries into the rooms of the sleeping child and collects their tooth in exchange for a small fee or gift. This much-loved mythical character even has a museum dedicated to him in Madrid.
France too has its own version of the tooth mouse, known as La Bonne Petite Souris. As with Ratoncito Perez, La Bonne Petite Souris takes the teeth from under the pillow and leaves some cash or controversially a sweet.
Throwing the Teeth
This custom is adapted depending on each culture, but the symbolic meaning is the same – to encourage strong and healthy teeth to sprout. Japanese children would throw the teeth from the lower jaw straight up into the air and the teeth from the upper jaw straight and down to the ground. This is how they want their new teeth to grow – straight and even.
Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Iraq also have a similar tooth-throwing tradition, however they throw their tooth to the sun as a gift to the sun god in exchange for stronger and better teeth the second time round.
Feed Them to the Dogs
Mongolia’s tradition is a little less mythical. Rather than leaving the tooth for an inconspicuous evening-dweller, the children of Mongolia take the tooth and place it in some fat before feeding it to their dog. The idea of this is that their adult teeth can be as strong as their dog’s teeth once they have sprouted. If the child does not have a dog, they will then bury the tooth so that the new set of teeth will have strong roots like the trees.
If you would like to learn more about dentistry for children, including how dummies can affect your child’s teeth, please call us at Epsom Dental on 01372 720650 and book yourself in for an appointment with one of our highly trained and experienced dental practitioners. We pride ourselves on being delicate and gentle with all our clients.