Here in America, we know all about the small-winged fluttering fairy that compensates kids with a few bucks (an average of $3.70!) in exchange for a freshly lost tooth. What we don’t know is whether the Tooth Fairy is like Santa Claus and visits all children throughout the world who have lost a tooth in one night. At our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we wanted to get the scoop on the business of collecting lost teeth.
In England, Canada, and Australia, the Tooth Fairy follows the same tradition as in the United States. She takes her tiny body, wiggles it under the pillow, retrieves the tooth, and replaces it with some cash or a small gift. In other locations around the world, fairies are hard to come by, so she hires small animals to help her.
French children’s lost teeth still rest under the pillows of sleepy heads, but instead of the Tooth Fairy, a small silent mouse named La Petite Souris collects them and leaves money or candies behind. Similarly in Spain, La Petite Souris’ mouse cousin, Ratoncito Peréz, takes lost teeth and replaces them with tiny treasures. Ratoncito then travels to Argentina where children leave lost teeth in glasses of water. Because of the long trip, Ratoncito is mighty thirsty, so he drinks all the water, takes the teeth, and leaves behind his remaining stash of treasure. Other members of this magical mouse family collect teeth from children in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Venezuela, South Africa, and Greece.
Besides mice, birds also help the Tooth Fairy collect teeth, particularly in Brazil and India. Brazilian kids traditionally toss their lost teeth outside and leave them for birds to collect. The trick here? Birds will only retrieve teeth and leave a treasure if they’re clean teeth, so hopefully kids in Brazil are brushing and flossing! In India, lost teeth are tossed on the roof with hopes a sparrow will provide new ones.
Many sections of Africa have their children throw teeth from the upper jaw on the roof and bury ones from the bottom jaw on the ground. If a lizard finds any discarded lost tooth, legend has it a new one will not grow.
With the many traditions throughout the world regarding the Tooth Fairy, we’ve determined that she runs a pretty great business. If your little one is wiggling and jiggling a loose tooth, prepare them for a visit from the Tooth Fairy, and to our Long Island pediatric dental office. Losing baby teeth is natural, but we want to work with your children to make sure their adult teeth last a lifetime, because we all know the tooth fairy doesn’t visit adults. She can’t afford the going price of a permanent tooth.
Welcoming patients from Long Island, Westbury, and Nassau County.