Are you looking for new tooth fairy ideas for kids? Check out this list of the best kids tooth fairy tradtions around the world you need to know about!
This post about the best tooth fairy traditions around the world was originally written January 15, 2019 and was updated October 23, 2021 and may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
This post is sponsored by Delta Dental of Washington. All opinions are my own.
Do you know how kids around the world celebrate losing their teeth?
In this blog post, I’ll share some really cool tooth fairy traditions around the world that are fascinating. Plus, find out about how you can meet a tooth fairy in real life and get a copy of a tooth fairy book that highlights how people celebrate the tooth fairy across the globe.
Keep scrolling to learn more about how kids around the world celebrate the milestone of losing teeth.
You’ll be surprised by what you read below! The Tooth Fairy is celebrated all over Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America – even Australia! Some cultures have very specific rituals for when children lose their first baby teeth while others just want to give them something special as they grow up.
Find out which country has one of my favorite customs below. Scroll now to discover fun facts about celebrating losing your first baby teeth from countries all over the world.
Plus, find out where to get the cutest tooth fairy book!
Is the Tooth Fairy Real? FAQs
Did you know the tooth fairy visits each child about 20 times? That’s because kids have 20 baby teeth that will fall out over the span of a few years. And she collects about 300,000 teeth each night! It’s no wonder she has her own holiday. February 28th is National Tooth Fairy Day.
A lot of kids wonder what the tooth fairy does with all the teeth she collects. The consensus seems to be that she uses the pretty white teeth to build a castle for her fairy friends. But, the teeth that have cavities get thrown into a dark cave. So, if you want your teeth to be part of her beautiful castle, make sure to brush your teeth!
Sort of. There are a few phone apps that can capture the tooth fairy on camera as she collects teeth. And there are opportunities to see tooth fairies at local events.
Brief Tooth Fairy History
Are you curious about the tooth fairy legend? It seems to have started in Europe a long time ago. Kids would bury their teeth in the garden outside so a new tooth would grow in its place.
As lifestyles changed and rural areas became bustling cities, the tradition also changed and kids started burying their teeth under their pillows instead.
The modern-day American tooth fairy was first mentioned in September 1908 in the “Household Hints” column of the Chicago Daily Tribune. In the article, the author recommends that kids should put their tooth under a pillow and mothers should replace it with a nickel.
Then in 1927, Esther Watkins Arnold wrote a play for kids called The Tooth Fairy that made the tooth fairy a global phenomenon.
Even though our version of the tooth fairy has only been around for about 113 years, people have been celebrating the loss of baby teeth for centuries.
The Vikings had a ritual where moms would pay kids a “tooth fee” in exchange for their baby teeth. You can read about it in Scandinavian myths and poetry from as early as the 13th century.
How Our Family Celebrates the Tooth Fairy for Kids
When my oldest son was 4 years old, he lost his first tooth in a freak hide-and-seek accident. I was not prepared. This meant I had to figure out the whole Tooth Fairy thing a lot sooner than I expected.
Thankfully, my son wanted to keep his tooth around for a few days to look at it before putting it under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy. This bought me time to research Tooth Fairy traditions from around the world.
Part of the reason I wanted to write this blog post was to help other grown-ups figure out what to do when a child loses their first tooth and show some awesome resources I wish I knew about back then.
So, what does our family do?
Since my son’s first experience was a little traumatic, we ended up giving him some LEGO Batman Minifigures in addition to a letter from the tooth fairy and tooth fairy money.
This made sense for our family because my son watched this movie as his tooth was extracted at the dentist’s office. It was also one of his favorite movies. So, these toys are tied to his lost tooth experience.
He’s lost a few teeth since then and we no longer do the tooth fairy letters or give him extra gifts. He puts the tooth in a little container under his pillow and the tooth fairy takes it and leaves him some cash.
Tooth Traditions Around the World
The Tooth Fairy in the United States of America
As most of you know, when kids lose teeth in the U.S., it’s customary to put the tooth under their pillow before bed. Or some people have special Tooth Pillows that have a pocket for the tooth or hang on a door.
Then, kids eagerly wake up the next morning to see what she left them.
Traditionally, the Tooth Fairy is female. She usually resembles Tinkerbell from Peter Pan. However, in movies like Tooth Fairy starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and The Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy is a burly guy.
American Tooth Fairy traditions are all about cash money! I remember when I lost a tooth as a kid, the Tooth Fairy left me a quarter hanging from a fishing line in the ceiling so it looked like it was floating! It was quite memorable.
Some of my friends spray dollar bills with glitter to create special money that the Tooth Fairy leaves their children.
Additionally, some kids write letters to the tooth fairy and she even writes them back.
Raton Perez in Spanish Speaking Countries
Have you ever heard of a Tooth RAT aka El Raton de Los Dientes?
In Hispanic counties including Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Colombia, Raton Perez is a rat who collects baby teeth from children. In return, Perez leaves gifts (although it’s not always money).
One of the coolest stories I found about this is that sometimes in Argentina, the kids leave the baby tooth in a glass of water. When Perez arrives, he drinks the water, takes the baby tooth, and leaves the gift in the glass for the child.
He’s very popular and there was an animated film detailing his story called El Ratón Pérez. Has that piqued your curiosity? Apparently, there’s a Ratoncito Pérez Museum in Madrid that may answer all your questions.
Tooth Mouse in Europe
In French-speaking countries, the rat becomes a little mouse called La Petite Souri. She’s featured in many children’s books.
In Italy, they have a small mouse called Topolino. And in Scotland, they celebrate a white fairy mouse who purchases children’s teeth with coins.
Alternative Tooth Fairy Traditions
Not all cultures celebrate a Tooth Fairy or Tooth Mouse.
In parts of Asia and India, children throw teeth from their bottom jar on the roof and teeth from their upper jaw on the floor. The thinking is that the new teeth will grow in the direction of the tossed teeth.
And children try to throw in straight lines to ensure straight teeth.
In the Middle East, children throw their teeth toward the sun in hopes that the sunlight will help the new teeth grow in faster. In Nepal, children bury their teeth in secret spots.
And in Malaysia, kids bury their baby teeth in the ground as a way to return them to nature.
The most interesting tradition I’ve heard about takes place in Turkey. Parents there try to influence their offspring’s future career choices by burying teeth near important places.
So, burying a tooth near a hospital might help a child grow up to be a doctor. Or near a school might encourage the kid to pursue education. But the most popular place? Soccer fields!
Tooth Fairy Book: The Search for the World’s Greatest Smile
Whenever someone in our family has a loose tooth, we love reading Tooth Fairy books to start getting excited. While there are many books about the Tooth Fairy, we’re really loving The Search for the World’s Greatest Smile.
It’s one of the most inclusive Tooth Fairy books, which is something I look for when adding to our ever-growing library at home.
One of the best things about it is that you can download it for FREE. That’s right! Dela Dental of Washington has made this cool book available for families free of charge.
You can get your free copy of this book HERE.
The Tooth Fairy Experience
Something really cool that Delta Dental of Washington has put together is The Tooth Fairy Experience.
They have Tooth Fairies representing different ethnicities that are available to give presentations at schools or visit kids at a local event. It’s such a fun way to get kids excited about keeping their teeth nice and healthy.
Plus, they even have downloadable materials for families so they can easily talk to their kids about healthy dental hygeine.
Tooth Fairy Ideas Wrap Up
I hope these tooth fairy traditions around the world inspire your own family tradition when it comes to celebrating the loss of baby teeth. Now you know what the tooth fairy is like in other countries as well as some other tooth traditions.
If you want a little more inspiration or ideas for how to celebrate this milestone, pick up our book The Tooth Fairy’s Guide to Celebrating Baby Teeth! It includes tons of great information about what customs are going on all over the globe and even has tips from parents who have been through this process before that will make your child feel extra special during their big day.