The tooth fairy in other cultures
Is the tooth fairy always a fairy? Different cultures in different parts of the world have a variety of approaches when it comes to lost teeth.
While we’re all used to the image of a small, cute and winged fairy bringing cash in exchange for milk teeth, you don’t have to look far to discover fascinating and varied alternatives to the tradition. For example, Irish mythology tells of Anna Bogle - a leprechaun with a missing tooth who collects children’s teeth to fix her own smile, leaving a piece of leprechaun gold for those who are kind enough to donate to her cause.
How would you feel about a mouse scurrying under your pillow to collect your teeth? In most of the Spanish speaking world, children are visited by El Ratoncito Perez - a little magical mouse who takes on the job of the tooth fairy. French and Swiss children are beneficiaries of another mythical rodent, La Petite Souris. Interestingly, these same mice pop up around Christmas time, helping Santa Claus deliver his gifts instead of the more familiar elves.
Another curious tradition in many parts of the world involves throwing a fallen tooth onto the roof of your home. In parts of Romania and Moldova, children toss their loose tooth onto the roof and call for the crows to replace it with a metal one. In many parts of southeast Asia, the teeth are thrown onto the roof, and depending on how straight it lands, the child will know if their new tooth will grow in a crooked way or not.