The Tooth Fairy has been a staple folk tale all around the world. And for a good reason. For years, parents have used this mythical creature to celebrate the loss of their child’s baby teeth. Losing these teeth then became something kids looked forward to instead of being something to fear. Tooth Fairy traditions further heighten this sense of anticipation.
If you travel around the world, you’ll be sure to find some iteration of the Tooth Fairy in every culture. Some cultures don’t have a literal “tooth fairy.” In places like El Salvador, Scotland, and Sri Lanka, this role falls to small woodland creatures, such as a mouse, rabbit, or squirrel. In most North American countries, it’s a literal member of the fairy folk that collects teeth in exchange for currency.
Aside from creatures that collect teeth, however, there’s still a hearth of Tooth Fairy traditions that do not involve a tooth fairy. And there are, of course, little rituals some may do to welcome the Tooth Fairy. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting ones:
- Leave a dish next to the bed
Having a dedicated “tooth dish” for the tooth fairy is a good alternative for your light-sleeping children. Parents can also take this as an opportunity to get their tykes excited for that night visit. While their teeth are a little bit loose, you can even design the platter with your child to make it extra special.
- Throw the teeth onto the roof
In some Asian cultures, kids who lose teeth from their lower jaw throw them onto the roof and make a wish. Often, this wish involves having a stronger tooth replacement or a fast-growing one. This replacement is usually a rodent’s tooth. There’s a belief that the new teeth will grow towards the direction of the old one, so throwing the bottom teeth onto the roof ensures this.
- Bury their teeth into the ground
If lower teeth should be thrown onto the roof, teeth missing from the top jaw need to be buried into the ground. Aside from this, other cultures typically believe that placing baby teeth into the ground ensure strong and healthy permanent ones. Some cultures also think of burying your teeth as a practical solution. Some think it’s the proper way to dispose of your old teeth. Others find it a way to protect the teeth from any animals that might wish to snatch them.
- Build a door for the fairy
Another fun ritual you can do with your children is to create a small door for the Tooth Fairy to enter through. You can either take this from an old doll house, or for maximum bonding, you and your kids could build one yourselves. You can use popsicle sticks or do a little woodworking to make it as fun as you’d like. Your kids can also go crazy on the design.
- Feed the teeth to the dog
While this isn’t recommended for obvious reasons, some cultures feed their teeth to their dogs. They feed them to ensure that the teeth are as healthy as a dog’s once they emerge.