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Tooth fairy or tooth mouse? 4 Legends from around the world

 

When you have a loose tooth, you know what to do.

Just wait for that tooth to fall out. Then stick it under your pillow or in a special container. You will you wake up the next morning to money that’s all yours! All thanks to the Tooth Fairy!

The Tooth Fairy doesn't just visit kids in Canada. They also make the rounds in the United States, Great Britain and most of Northern Europe.

But in other places in the world, the Tooth Fairy has relatives who help out. Or they're not a person at all! Or there are customs for what to do with baby teeth that might bring luck, but no cash. Read on to find out more about toothy traditions from around the world.


Mouse in the house

mouse hiding under the cover with coins

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In some parts of the world the Tooth Fairy has whiskers and a tail. That’s right, there’s a Tooth Mouse!

In France, it's called La Petite Souris, which means “the little mouse.” At night this small and stealthy mouse sneaks under pillows. It exchanges the tooth for money or treats.
 

a tooth being dropped into a glass of water

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You will find a tooth-loving mouse too named Raton Pérez in Spanish cultures. This mouse does the tooth collecting in Spanish-speaking countries, although his name might be a little different in each one.

In Argentina, instead of under the pillow, kids leave their tooth in a glass of water. Not only does the mouse get the tooth, he also drinks the water. Picking up all those teeth is thirsty work!


Throw your tooth in the air (like you just don’t care)

Little boy holding his baby tooth

Photo by iStockphoto/Giorez

In many Middle Eastern countries, kids don’t leave their teeth for a mouse or a fairy. They take their tooth outside and throw it up in the air, aiming for the sun.

It’s thought that this will make the new teeth grow in faster. They might also be even stronger than before.
 

Child holding her baby teeth

Photo by iStockPhoto/Anna Anisimova

In Japan, they throw their teeth too. The bottom teeth are thrown up into the air. The top teeth are tossed on the ground. This way they copy the direction the teeth grow in.

A good, straight throw is supposed to bring in straight new teeth.


Tooth on the roof

a squirrel looking at you

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Throwing teeth around is a popular thing to do in a lot of places. In some countries kids are aiming for the roof.

Kids in countries like Greece, Botswana and Sri Lanka throw their teeth on the roof. They do the same in places like China and India. But they only throw the bottom teeth. The top ones get put somewhere low, like under the bed or even under the floorboards.

The hope is that a bird or a squirrel or a mouse will take the tooth. That’s supposed to guarantee that the new tooth will grow in quickly.


Hide that tooth

A free ranging Oriental Pied Hornbill in Nepal

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Not everyone’s looking to give their teeth away to animals or fairy creatures.

In Nepal, it’s actually bad luck if a bird makes off with your baby tooth. So kids theere bury their teeth in secret spots. Malaysian kids bury their teeth in the ground too. They think of it as returning the tooth back to nature.
 

kids playing soccer outside

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Parents in Turkey try to influence their kids’ future careers by burying teeth in different places.

It’s thought that burying the tooth near a hospital will help the kid grow up to be a doctor. Or burying it in the playground of a school encourages them to be a teacher someday. Soccer fields are popular, because everyone wants to be a good player!