In honor of National Tooth Fairy Day, the family-friendly dentists at SLO Smiles are sharing international tooth loss lore, starting with the states. While you’re already familiar with the fact that the tooth fairy collects lost teeth from under pillows in the dark of night, what you might not know is the going rate per tooth across the country.
So, how much does the tooth fairy pay per tooth?
In 2017, over 1,000 parents were surveyed to determine the going rate for a lost tooth. The results found that the average is $4.13 (an 11% decrease from the past year). Interestingly enough, kids on the west coast earn the most from the tooth fairy compared to kids in other parts of the country.
Now for lost tooth traditions from around the globe:
In beautiful South Africa, kids stick their lost teeth into slippers instead of under pillows.
In many Asian countries, kids who lose teeth specifically from their lower jaw will throw their lost teeth on top of the roof of their home.
So, what happens to the teeth lost from the upper jaw? Those go on the floor. Sound funny? The idea is that new tooth will gravitate toward the old tooth.
That’s not all, though, because as the tooth-losing kiddo tosses their teeth, they sometimes yell out a wish that their missing tooth be replaced by the tooth of a mouse. Yes, a mouse.
That’s because mice teeth continually grow. Moving on over to Spain, the mice is a beloved creature as well. Beyond Spain, when kids lose teeth in Mexico, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Argentina they celebrate with a mouse who collects teeth, aka Raton Perez. Similar to our idea of the tooth fairy here in the U.S., Raton Perez collects the teeth from under the pillow. Unlike the U.S., the mouse might leave a gift in lieu of cash. Now in France, kids also look forward to a mouse visiting their house, only he’s known as La Bonne Petite Souris. Funny thing is this mouse might just leave a kiddo candy instead of cash. Not exactly a dentist-approved move!
Centuries ago in Europe, lost baby teeth were buried in the ground, often in gardens or nearby fields. The practice was done for two reasons. One, because it was believed the act ensures a permanent tooth would grow in its place, and because of a superstition that you wouldn’t want a no-good witch to get a hold of those teeth and cast a curse.