Do you remember when you used to have your baby teeth pulled out? Did you attempt to remove it with your hand? Have you closed the door after first wrapping a string around it and then wrapping a string around the doorknob? Have you ever had a tooth that was so loose that it almost came out on its own? In that case, you are one of the millions of people who have been through the same thing and who are now going through the same experiences with their children.
If this describes you, you are not alone. Getting rid of baby teeth is associated with several different rituals and customs. The Tooth Fairy is a figure that is celebrated in many different cultures around the world and is the one that is most well-known in the United States. When a child in this country sleeps with a tooth under their pillow at night, the Tooth Fairy will come and take the tooth, leaving behind a monetary reward in its place.
However, this is just one of many ways that people all over the world celebrate the moment when a child loses their baby teeth. Here are a few other traditions from around the world that you and your family may want to consider adopting into your life to make the process of losing a tooth a more enjoyable and educational experience.
Baby Teeth Traditions
The following are a few examples of other celebrations that are common all over the world when a child loses a baby tooth.
1. Burying the Tooth
It was common practice among members of certain American Indian tribes to bury their children’s baby teeth in predetermined spots and then cover them with a variety of different types of brush, branches, and herbs. Because the tooth was considered to be a relic of childhood, it was traditionally buried on the eastern side of a sage bush.
Some people would bury the tooth at the front door of their house or a community building, and it was believed that anyone who stepped on the tooth after it had been buried would develop a new tooth of their own.
In Turkey, burying a baby’s first tooth in a specific location is believed to bring the child good luck in their adult life. Therefore, if a parent wishes for their child to become an outstanding scholar, the parent should bury the tooth in the garden of a library or university. This will bring about the desired result. In certain societies, the tooth is buried in the ground in the hope that it will continue to grow.
2. Throwing the Tooth
The practice of throwing the tooth is common across many cultures. Children in Brazil either toss their baby teeth onto the roof or give them to the local bird population. Children in Egypt place their teeth in packages made of tissue paper and present them as a present to the sun.
The Japanese culture holds the belief that the upper and lower teeth ought to be thrown in different ways. Teeth from the upper jaw are thrown onto the ground, and teeth from the lower jaw are thrown onto the roof.
3. Hiding the Tooth
Although children in many other cultures believe that their lost teeth will be replaced by the Tooth Fairy, they do not place their teeth under their pillows. For instance, in Russia, the tooth is buried in a mouse hole, and in the Philippines, it is buried in a location that is only known to a select few. If the tooth is located within a year, the person who does so will be granted a wish of their choosing.
Motivating your child to take care of his or her teeth by promising them a visit from the Tooth Fairy can be a very effective strategy. Explain to your child that the Tooth Fairy will only leave treats for teeth that are strong and healthy.
4. Help from Family Members
Certain American Indian communities, in addition to the practice of burying baby teeth, would also enlist the assistance of other members of the family, such as grandparents, in addition to the family dog. The Chippewa tribe would blacken the tooth with charcoal, and then they would have the child’s grandmother pray that the child’s permanent primary teeth would grow in strong and healthy.
Another Indian group known as the Dene Yellow Knives would take the baby tooth that fell out of a child and give it to the child’s mother or grandmother to plant in a tree that had a strong base and a straight trunk. After that, the whole family would gather around the tree that still had the tooth in it and sing and dance in the hopes that the new permanent tooth would grow in as straight as the model tree.
As part of yet another cultural practice, the child’s lost primary tooth would be ground up and combined with the meat that was readily available in the home. Following that, the meat mixture would be given to the family dogs while they would chant, “Make my teeth strong.” It was believed that this would work because wolves are the ancestors of dogs and wolves have very powerful and pointed teeth.
When a child of Cherokee Indian ancestry lost a baby tooth, the tradition was for them to throw it on the roof and then have their siblings help them run around the house while holding the tooth. They would then yell out the phrase “Beaver put a new tooth in my jaw” four times in a row, with each repetition coming immediately after the previous one. People used to believe that because beavers have such powerful teeth, children also have the potential to have powerful teeth that are capable of easily and quickly ripping through wood.
5. Tooth to The Roof
Children in some nations, such as Greece, China, Singapore, and Vietnam, are taught to throw their baby teeth onto the ceiling. Some of these nations believe that the new tooth will grow correctly if the extracted tooth lands in the straight position, but if it lands in the crooked position, the new tooth will grow crooked.
6. The Tooth Fairy
The custom of the Tooth Fairy is, without a doubt, one that most of us are aware of. When a child loses a tooth, they put it under their pillow at night in the United States, Denmark, England, and Australia in the hopes that the Tooth Fairy will come and replace it with money or sometimes with sweets and candy. This tradition originated in England in the 19th century and has since spread throughout the English-speaking world.
These are just a few of the many enjoyable customs that are associated with the practice of getting rid of one’s baby teeth. When a child loses their baby teeth, it is a momentous occasion in their life; therefore, you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to make the most of it.