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How old were you when you lost your first tooth? Was it exciting to put that tooth under your pillow and fall asleep in eager anticipation of a visit from the tooth fairy? Visits from the tooth fairy are a rite of passage, and children have been cashing in on their lost teeth for generations. But did you know that the legend of the tooth fairy extends well beyond contemporary American culture? Here’s more from your dentist about six surprising, interesting versions of the origins of the tooth fairy from around the world.
The tooth fairy isn’t always a “fairy” in some places. In France and other French-speaking countries across the globe, children believe that a mythological mouse retrieves their lost teeth at night. This tooth-loving mouse is named “La Petite Souris” in France, and children in Spain call him “Ratóncito Pérez.”
In Egypt, Libya, and Oman, children throw their lost teeth towards the sun, in hopes that the star will send them back a stronger tooth.
Parents in Turkey have high hopes for their children, and this is exemplified by how they handle their children’s lost teeth. They will bury their children’s teeth in a meaningful place and communicate wishes for their child’s life; sort of like throwing a penny into a wishing well!
Finland basically has the dental-equivalent version of Krampus. If Finnish children eat too much candy, they’re told that a tooth troll named Hammaspeikko will come to drill holes in their teeth! But fortunately, brushing your teeth every day is enough to scare away this foul troll.
In South Africa, when children lose their baby teeth, they don’t put them under their pillows. Instead, they leave them inside of a slipper for a mouse to replace it with a small gift.
In China, lower baby teeth and upper baby teeth are handled differently when they’re lost. Lower baby teeth are thrown on the roof of the house, while upper baby teeth are buried in the ground. This superstition is carried out in hopes that the new teeth will come in quickly and without issue.
Losing your baby teeth is part of growing up; and thanks to the many forms and iterations of the tooth fairy, children all around the world can cash in their lost teeth for all sorts of goodies.
Happy Smiles has proudly served patients and families in the Westchase area for several years under the leadership of Dr. Mamata Ponnaganti! Dr. Ponnaganti received her dental doctorate from the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine. She has also taken countless hours of continuing education in several fields and is a member of many professional organizations, including the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ponnaganti, feel free to reach out online or over the phone: (813) 818-4520.
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