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We shape our daily routine around them, we clean them, floss them, chew with them and check them for lipstick and food bits, tear open a bag with them when nobody’s looking. Our teeth are valuable to us, both in how they look and how we use them. It’s no wonder a tooth fairy would pay big bucks for them.
Throughout human history and across cultures, some interesting traditions have cropped up to accommodate the superstitions and celebrations surrounding the loss of baby teeth and the new gap for big-girl-and-boy teeth.
Let’s start with the enigmatic fairy. Who is she and where did she come from? And is she a ‘she’ after all?
The Tooth Fairy appeared in earliest written records of Norse in Northern Europe (almost 900 years ago), rewarding children when they lost their first tooth. Over the years, her payment, much like the number of presents Santa leaves, has increased but depends greatly on the country, family economic status and the average their friends receive. The fairy could perhaps use a business course.
On average in the US, the tooth hoarder slips an average of $5.70 under your child’s pillow for the first tooth. After that, she leaves $4.13 per tooth on average. Bulk price, makes sense. Her price is in a slight slump in 2018, dropping 2 pennies from last year’s averages.
Canada went all out in embracing this tradition, and our fairy friend has her own money now. The Royal Canadian Mint began selling Tooth Fairy Quarters in 2011. After reading this, they’ll see they need to update those to Tooth Fairy dollars – quarters aren’t cutting it anymore. As you can see below, the fairy has two very different looks, but the Canadians are not the only ones who haven’t settled on what she looks like.
Wherever you look, there are fewer consistent descriptions of the Tooth Fairy than of Santa or the Easter Bunny. According to surveyed fairy customers, 74 percent thought she was female, 12 percent thought it was genderless, and 8 percent thought that he or she could be either male or female.
The Ratoncito Pérez (Pérez Mouse for the English speaking) is celebrated in Spanish-speakingcountries. Endearingly nicknamed Raton Pérez, the mouse will leave a gift, not always money, for the lucky child who just lost their tooth. Sometimes Mr. Pérez, in his great journey for the treasure, is deemed thirsty and so the tooth is left in a glass of water, which he drinks before scuttling off with the tooth. In many cultures, mice and rodents are admired for their strong ever-growing teeth, and Spanish and Hispanic cultures are not alone in wanting to associate these lucky creatures with their children’s teeth.
In Italy, we can find Topolino, also a mouse, who undertakes the Tooth Fairy’s normal tasks, and similarly in France la petite souris, ‘the little mouse’, purchases these toothy treasures. In parts of Scotland, the traditions fused and we can hear of a white fairy rat who buys the teeth with coins.
In some Asian countries, the child who lost their teeth throws it onto the roof if the tooth fell from the lower jaw, or if it came from the upper jaw they will throw it underneath the floor or home.While tossing their tooth, the child yells, asking for the tooth to be replaced with the tooth of a mouse (That’s right, we have not finished with the mice. The tooth fairy is feeling a little outnumbered right now.) This harkens back to how rodent teeth grow for the entire creature’s life and the gesture symbolizes health, strength, and longevity. In India, the child sometimes buries their teeth underground by a big tree.
The Japanese have finessed this tradition and throw their teeth straight up or down depending on where the tooth came from. This is in hopes that the tooth will grow straight. Ever the leaders in style.
Similarly to the Asian countries, theatrical throwing is involved in these Middle Eastern countries. This time, the tooth is tossed upward toward Allah, although this tradition may predate Islamic tradition and emerged around when tooth fairies sprung in Europe in the 13th century.
Another animal gets a shot at partaking in the ceremony in Mongolia. Dogs are fed the child’s tooth (they make the tooth palatable with some fat or food). This special treat, woefully unappreciated by the dog, is in hopes that the child’s new tooth will grow to be as strong as the dog’s.
It seems that wherever you look, there’s a bit of tooth envy. While having the strength in your teeth of a mouse or a dog is impressive, there’s nothing quite like looking after the teeth you do have to keep them strong. Brushing is a start, brushing with stylish sonic toothbrushes, even better. The little ones can start this tradition early, and what better way than with the fun and effective Rockee Kids Toothbrush?