Tooth Fairies Around the World

For children around the world, traditions surrounding losing baby teeth are exciting and fun. But did you know the tooth fairy we've come to know and love in North America has many friends across the globe that put their own spin on collecting baby teeth?

When you think of the tooth fairy, you likely envision children placing their lost baby teeth underneath their pillows at night in hopes of waking up to coins or maybe even a crisp dollar bill in the morning. The same folklore is present in countries like Denmark, England and Australia. These aren't the only places with tooth fairy traditions though. In fact, these traditions are much more diverse than you might think.

El Ratoncito Pérez (translated to Perez the mouse in English) has been a popular figure in Spanish culture dating back to 1894. When a child loses a tooth, it is customary for them to place it under their pillow for El Ratoncito Pérez to exchange it for a gift — often coins or candy (sugar free, we hope!).

Spain isn't the only country with a magical mouse. In Argentina and Sweden, children leave baby teeth in glasses of water to keep their fairy friend hydrated on their travels. In the morning, they often find coins left in the glass.

Some traditions don't involve a flying fairy at all. In many Asian nations, as well as in places like Brazil and Greece, it's customary for children to throw baby teeth onto the roof. In some cultures, children attempt to throw the tooth as straight as possible in hopes of growing a straight permanent tooth in its place. Some insist on throwing teeth from the upper jaw onto the ground and teeth from the lower jaw onto the roof in hopes that new teeth will grow straight towards the old ones. Some, however, simply insist on throwing the tooth and making a wish.

In Egypt, children wrap their baby teeth in tissue and throw it towards the sun. The hope is that the sun will give them a brighter tooth in its place.

So, what happens to all the baby teeth that have been lost over time? Even that depends on who you ask. Some say the tooth fairy uses them to build a castle. Others believe they are recycled, given to babies who need help chewing. 

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