February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, which makes it a good time for parents to get their kids excited about dental care. It can be a struggle to get kids to brush their teeth each day. While Crest recommends fun experiments that you can do with your kids to get them interested in dental health, such as putting an egg in vinegar to show them the effects of acid on teeth, few things get kids more excited about oral health than the tooth fairy.
What wouldn’t a kid love about the tooth fairy? A magical fairy that leaves you money for your lost teeth sounds like a pretty good deal for most people. However, did you know that the tooth fairy appears in different forms all around the world? The next time you sit down to talk to your kids about oral health, you can also teach them about different cultures with these tooth fairies from around the globe:
- Mexico – Our neighbors to the south tuck their children in at night, and tell them to wait for a mouse named El Raton de los Dientes, who comes and leaves them money for their teeth. This mouse also makes visits to children in Spain.
- Mongolia – In this country, a lost tooth is given to a dog, since dogs are considered guardian angels. The tooth is put into the dog’s food to eat it, so that a healthy tooth will grow in its place.
- Slovenia – Here, there is also a mouse that retrieves a lost tooth from under childrens pillows. However, the mouse replaces the tooth with candy. (This may not be the best way to promote proper oral health to your kids.)
- Japan – When a child loses a tooth in this country, they are told to throw it over the roof, or put it under the house. If it’s a bottom tooth, then it goes over the roof, to encourage the new tooth to grow upwards. Upper teeth are put under the ground to encourage the new tooth to grow downwards. This is also done in Korea.
- France – French children still put their lost teeth under their pillow, but instead of receiving money or candy, they get a small gift, such as toy car.
- Scandinavia – The Vikings used to pay a “tooth fee” to small children for their baby teeth. According to legend, they would then use these teeth to make jewelry to wear into battle, since children were considered good luck.