Tooth Mouse

Common Traditions For Baby Teeth Around The World

Baby teeth play a vital role in almost every known culture. The most commonly practiced tradition in America is placing a lost baby tooth under a child’s pillow. At night, the “tooth fairy” replaces the missing tooth with money. In some families, the baby’s teeth are kept, while others will use them as part of a craft project or keep them as a memento. Today, medical science has even found reasons to keep baby teeth as a source of mesenchymal stem cells. These cells can help treat certain forms of cancer and various illnesses. Come with us as Kids World Pediatric Dental explores the wonderful world of baby teeth traditions worldwide.

Common Traditions For Baby Teeth Around The World

Very few cultures around the world don’t have some form of traditional or religious significance associated with baby teeth. Losing our baby teeth is an experience shared by every human who has ever lived and likely all who ever will live. Anthropological studies have revealed a number of common properties these traditions share, including:

  • After falling out, the tooth would be tossed over the roof of a house or on it. A song or prayer to an individual, animal, or deity would be sung afterward.
  • The tooth would be carefully stored where no animals could interfere with it.
  • The tooth may be hung on a wall.
  • It would be “planted” in fertile soil to encourage the growth of a new tooth in the child’s mouth.
  • It would be burned in a fire to prevent witches or spirits from using it to control the child.
  • The mother, child, or animal would swallow the tooth.
  • It would be placed near the burrow of a particular type of animal.

Placing the tooth next to an animal’s burrow was the most frequently encountered tradition. The reason it was done varied from culture to culture. However, the general theme was that it would be given to an animal known for its strong teeth. It was hoped that by doing so, the child would also develop strong teeth that would be free from damage or disease. This offering generally was accompanied by an offering to the animal, as well as a song or prayer. Another form of this ritual involved directly offering the tooth to a squirrel, cat, dog, beaver, or other animal. In the majority of cultures, the mouse was the animal of choice.

This ritual is still practiced in many places throughout the world. Offerings to the Tooth Mouse will be made in a slipper, under a pillow, or in another place where the mouse may find it. This mouse is known by a variety of names, including La Petit Souris, El Ratoncinto Perez, and many others. The tooth fairy is thought to have evolved from this ancient practice of giving the tooth to the “Tooth Mouse.”

Discover The Importance of Baby Teeth

Considering all our baby teeth do for us, it’s only right that they receive recognition in one way or another. Our baby teeth work to help our jaw develop healthily. Further, they ensure enough room in our mouth for all our adult teeth and that they come in straight. You can learn more by contacting Kids World Pediatric Dental at (210) 787-1200 today!

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