From the first time you lose a tooth, you are introduced to the whimsical idea of the Tooth Fairy. You lose a tooth, hide it beneath your pillow, and awake to find it replaced with money in the morning. But how far back does this legend go? How does the rest of the world address the loss of primary teeth as their children grow up? Let’s look at a few of the other tooth fairy traditions and legends around the world.
The Tooth Fairy
In many countries, the tooth fairy traditions embrace a nymph-like creature that comes at night, seeking out the child’s tooth to leave a reward. The tooth fairy has many names, like the Fada dos dentes (Portugal), the Tannfe (Norway), the Tandfe (Sweden) and the Tönn ævintýri (Iceland). However, in Norway and Sweden, rather than leaving the tooth under a pillow, children drop the tooth in a glass of water, which is kept on their nightstand. By morning, these teeth have been replaced with a silver coin.
While the tooth fairy primarily exists to leave rewards for the children that lost teeth, superstitions in the Middle Ages said that teeth had to be burned to prevent hardship. Perhaps the idea that a fairy comes along is a little more palatable to little ones nowadays.
Though the traditional tooth fairy is used in many regions, Ireland’s tooth fairy traditions involve Anna Bole, a leprechaun girl from a fairy tale. The mischievous girl, in the story, decides to play in the forest one day, knocking out one of her front teeth. Though she tries to put the tooth back, she fails, leading her to seek out a human child’s tooth to replace it instead. Rather than stealing, which would be against the self-imposed rules of the leprechauns, she leaves a piece of gold behind, exchanging it for a tooth.
A Tooth Mouse
Not every country uses a fairy, or even a person, to visit the little children that are just starting to grow permanent teeth. In fact, in Spain, France, and other regions, the legend of the tooth fairy stems back to a sweet little mouse. Much like the tooth fairy, this little mouse comes to pick up the teeth that children leave under their pillows. Though Spain seems to be one of the only European countries to give this adorable animal a name (“Ratoncito Pérez”), the character is a well-loved and welcomed visitor to children, leaving behind sweets or money as a trade for the lost tooth.
Did Your Child Lose a Tooth?
It is never too early to learn proper dental care for these permanent teeth, and Mountain View Dental offers a welcoming and professional office for the whole family. To schedule an appointment or learn more, give Mountain View Dental a call at the local Pleasant View, Utah office.