Is The Real Tooth Fairy A Tooth Mouse? Tooth Traditions Around The world

first-tooth-lost

Tooth Traditions Around The World

“Look Mommy, my tooth is loose”. 

I bent down on one knee to get a better look as my daughter proudly wiggled and bent her bottom front tooth in ways which a tooth should never be bent.

The Tooth Fairy Is NOT Universal

“I can’t wait for the tooth mouse” said my daughter

All around the world,  little children like my daughter celebrate the loss of their first tooth but  not everyone celebrates the loss of their first tooth in the same way.

The fantasy of the tooth fairy is not universally known like say Santa Claus. The tooth fairy is mainly followed throughout English speaking countries and a few northern European countries like….

US, Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Norwegian, Denmark

The Tooth Mouse Might Be More Popular than the Fairy

la-petite-souris-film: A french Tooth tradition around the world

“The Little Mouse” This French children movie is so cute.

In many Spanish speaking and French speaking countries like France, (where we are living at the time of this writing),  little children, including my daughter place their tooth under their pillow.

Instead of the tooth fairy, they wait for the “Tooth Mouse” to come and take their tooth away and replace it with money.

What is the Tooth Mouse Called? 

In French speaking countries, the tooth mouse is called, La petite souris  (France, Belgium, Switzerland, Morocco, Algeria and Luxemburg).

In Spanish speaking countries it is called…

el Ratoncito Pérez= Perez the mouse ( Argentina, Spain)
el Ratón= Little Mouse= (Venezuela, Mexico, Guatemala)

Some children believe in both the tooth fairy and the tooth mouse

Both the tooth fairy and the tooth mouse exist in Italy and Quebec Canada.

Topino = Mouse and Fatina =Fairy ( Italy)

La fée des dents and La petite souris (Quebec Canada- French speaking province)

Other Tooth Traditions Around The World

The tooth fairy and tooth mouse are not the only tooth tradition followed by little children. There are so many others. I’m talking hundreds of different traditions.

The tooth bunny-

In El Salvador, children put their tooth under their pillow and a little rabbit will come and take the tooth and leave money.

Throw Tooth in the air or on the roof

In many other countries, kids don’t wait for a mouse, rabbit or fairy to come and take their tooth. Instead they throw it, usually in the air but not always.

For instance, in the Dominican Republic, Children throw their tooth on the roof and hope that a mouse will come and take it away and bring the child a new one. Sometimes children get money.

In India, some children throw their tooth on the roof and ask a sparrow to bring them a new tooth.

Children of Bulgaria, Jamaica and Greece also throw their tooth on the roof.

Miscellaneous Tooth Customs

In China, kids put their upper teeth at the foot of their beds and their lower teeth on the roof. The children believe that this will make their permanent teeth grow in faster.

In Egypt & Some Middle Eastern Countries, children wrap their teeth in a tissue, throw their wrapped tooth at the sun and ask the son to take their tooth and give them a better tooth.

Summary

As far as I can tell, the tooth customs around the world all have one thing in common. They all mean to give comfort to small children by rewarding them and giving them something to look forward to when they loose their tooth. A process which might otherwise be a little scary for little kids.

I’ve only listed a few of the tooth customs. If you are interested in getting a book for your child on the many tooth traditions around the world then take a look at the one below which has many more tooth customs from around the world.

throw your tooth on the roof: tooth traditions around the world

A great book with many many tooth traditions around the world

Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the Worldtooth traditions around the world

Have you ever heard of the tooth mouse or bunny?  Leave your comment below. Please share this post on facebook too. It helps me build more traffic to this site. 

 

Sylviane Nuccio

Hi Annie,

That was a lot of fun reading this. To me tooth fairy,la petite souris or el raton are all one and the same. It’s really the same story with different name characters.

When I was little I remember putting my tooth under the pillow waiting for la petite souris :)
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Ameena Falchetto

Hahaha! I was freaked out when I heard about the tooth mouse … Maybe, when the time comes, we’ll go with a fairy mouse :)

So funny how traditions vary across the world – I was equally puzzled about how they don’t have the Easter bunny in France – instead it’s the bells …

Lovely how kids put us on this steep learning curve when abroad eh?

Great post Annie – loved seeing the other examples from other countries!
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    Annie Andre

    Ameena, I had heard of the tooth mouse before. My family in Quebec are all francophone and they actually talk about both although sometimes we refer to the tooth mouse as the tooth fairy mouse like you.

    I was actually really surprised at all the different traditions around the world. Way way too may to list because of all the different meanings behind each. I think this is my favourite part about living abroad. It’s learning about all these different ways and customs and beliefs.
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Adrienne

What a fun and educational post Annie.

Now you know since I live in the US the only thing I’d ever heard of was the tooth fairy. And yes, I did believe in her and I put my tooth under my pillow and I got money. Back when I was a child though it was only a dime. That was a lot in my childhood.

I’ve never hear of the tooth mouse, bunny or throwing them on a roof. It was fun to learn though. As always, you share so many fun stories with us and I love hearing what you’ll come up with next. Hope Catherine’s tooth comes out soon.

~Adrienne
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    Annie Andre

    Hi Adrienne,
    I was actually surprised to learn that the tooth mouse existed in France. I thought it was just a French Canadian thing. I was surprised about the tooth bunny and the throwing on the roof custom. I found it interesting that so many countries believed in throwing their tooth in the air. From India, to China and further. Makes me wonder where it originated.
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Mary Stephenson

Hi Annie
Only knew about the tooth fairy. I think I got a nickel, but that was many years ago.
So not one that wanted to fish around trying to find my daughter’s tooth under her pillow, we got her to put it in a glass in the kitchen. I don’t remember what she got for each tooth.
The problem I had was some kids got different amounts, that was a hard one to explain. Don’t even remember how we handled that.
That was very interesting post.

Mary
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Steve

I can honestly say that I’ve never heard of the tooth mouse or bunny or anything other than the tooth fairy. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised though since so many other customs such as the ones for Christmas can be both similar, yet different.

I never put my tooth under my pillow when I was growing up. Instead my parents told me to put the tooth on my dresser. My guess is that it was easier for them to come in and take the tooth. I’m kind of a light sleeper so putting it under my pillow wouldn’t work. Although if my parents knew about these different tooth traditions, they might have just told me to throw it on the roof.

This is a fun post. So many different ways to celebrate losing a tooth. Makes me wonder what other different traditions are done for other things that I don’t know about. I tend to focus on holidays, but other things like the tooth fairy can be interesting to learn about too.
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Dorothy

I have never heard of a tooth mouse before! I freaked out when I read about it. I find it really funny! Thank you for this post!
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Longwood Dentist

Annie, what a delightful post! Thanks for sharing these other traditional stories. I like the Tooth Bunny, but the Easter Bunny would probably disagree with me. We’ll share these stories with some of our clients.

Clareamento Dental

Nice post, I thought it was only in Brazil that the tooth fairy passes at night and leave some coins!
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Russel

La petite souris(frech term), I’d enjoyed reading your article. Aside you already explored the world at 23, Good for you annie.
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Sean

I haven’t heard of the Tooth Mouse, but certainly the Tooth Fairy was very popular when I was a kid. My kids are only 2 and 4 so they still have a little time before loosing their teeth (it should be interesting to see what they say then).
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