The Tooth Fairy is a staple in American culture along with Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny; but where did she come from? Across the world, different cultures believe in different ways of disposing of baby teeth but most countries have a similar concept.
Our Tooth Fairy can be traced back to European Folklore and in fact many European countries like England believe in the Tooth Fairy the same as we do. Canada and Australia also believe in the Tooth Fairy. The current rate for American children’s baby teeth from the Tooth Fairy is averaged at $3.70 a tooth!
Before the Tooth Fairy could be found in the history books, a little mouse by the name of “La Bonne Petite Souris” existed, with many similarities to our current day Tooth Fairy. In France, La Bonne Petite Souris is a mouse who comes in the middle of night to take a child’s lost tooth an often rewards the child with money or sweets.
Mexico, Spain, Argentina, and Columbia also believe in a version of La Bonne Petite Souris, however in these countries the mouse goes by Ratocinto Perez, Raton Perez, or El Ratoncito. In Argentina the children leave their baby teeth in a glass of water that El Ratoncito drinks and then leaves a treat in the empty glass.
In Mideast and Asian countries, the tradition of baby teeth is a little different…
In India, China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam the children throw baby teeth from their bottom jaw onto their roofs and baby teeth from their upper jaw onto the ground while making a wish. The idea is that the direction of the baby tooth will pull the permanent tooth in the same way.
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Mongolian children put their baby teeth either in fat and feed the tooth to dogs to give them “strong teeth” or plant their teeth next to a tree for “strong roots”.
Traditions in Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt can be traced back to the 13th century where children throw baby teeth into the air and make a wish.