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3 Tooth Fairy Myths from Around the World

November 30, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — rozas @ 4:40 pm
an illustration of a tooth fairy

The myth of the tooth fairy has been around for centuries, told across the globe to children to help them get excited about losing their temporary teeth and have their adult ones grow in. In America, we imagine the tooth fairy as a small pink fairy that can sneak under pillows and leaves money in exchange for baby teeth. However, that’s not the picture that other cultures have created. Read on to learn how this myth compares to different cultures around the globe.

Spanish Cultures & Ratoncito Pérez

In Hispanic American and Spanish cultures, El Ratoncito Pérez, or Perez the Little Mouse is similar to the tooth fairy. This little mouse sneaks into children’s bedrooms at night, much like a fairy, and replaces lost teeth with a small payment or gift. Perez was first introduced into traditional folktales in 1894 by a Spanish writer and journalist who was writing a tale for eight-year-old King Alfonso XIII at the time. Depending on what country you’re in, different Spanish cultures have separate takes on this tale, with some calling him Perez, and others referring to him only as El Ratón de los Dientes, or The Tooth Mouse.

China Buries & Uplifts Baby Teeth

In China and Japan, children don’t get money or gifts after losing their baby teeth. Teeth that are lost from their lower jaw get thrown onto the roof of their home, while those from the upper jaw are often buried. This is done to encourage their adult teeth to grow in straight and aligned.

Finland’s Tooth Trolls That Hate When Children Brush

In Finland, they don’t believe in a harmless, gift-giving fairy. In fact, they imagine quite the opposite. Hammaspeikko, Finnish for “tooth troll” is an allegory to encourage children to take care of their smiles so they don’t get cavities. The tooth troll is lured to children’s bedsides when they eat too much candy and enjoy drilling holes into teeth. The one way to keep them away is by brushing, scaring them into submission and keeping them far away from the comfort of your bed. Adapted from a Norwegian children’s novel published in 1949, this Finnish tooth troll is a relatively new folktale.

Whether you’re in America, Mexico, Finland, or China, there’s one common thread that connects each of these folktales to each other, and that’s the hope to keep growing smiles healthy and happy!

About the Author

Dr. Terra Compton has over a decade of experience as a pediatric dentist under her belt. She’s passionate about creating positive, fun, and memorable dental experiences for children so they feel excited to come back and visit her again. She completed her Pediatric Dentistry Residency at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC and is Board-Certified. For questions or to schedule an appointment for your child, visit Melissa Rozas DDS & Associates’ website or call 972-393-9779.

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