The Tooth Fairy from Around the World

At Grin Natural, we are on a mission to provide families with safe, effective, all-natural oral care to help ensure adults and kids are taking good care of their oral health. In light of this year’s Tooth Fairy Day, we want to inspire little one’s to care for those little pearlers, (while having fun), so the tooth fairy is collecting only clean little teeth. 

Remember the excitement of losing your tooth as a child? The pure joy of putting it under your pillow that night, to wake up the following morning to find the Tooth Fairy had visited and left you a special surprise! Or, maybe your family had another tradition when a little pearly white fell out. 

tooth fairy story

So where did the Tooth Fairy story originate? The first published mention of the Tooth Fairy in America was in an article by author, Lillian Brown, dating back to 1908 in the Chicago Tribune. The article suggested parents could leave their children a small gift under their pillow for each tooth that they lost. However, the tradition of exchanging money for baby teeth may date back even further to the 10th century where children in Northern Europe were rewarded with a “tand-fe,”or tooth fee, when they lost their first tooth.   

Eventually, the tooth fairy tradition spread far and wide and became a popular culture and is now part of the fun in growing up. But did you know that different countries all over the world celebrate this moment in different ways? Let’s investigate those traditions!

  1. America and Beyond 

In America, and other primarily English-speaking countries, the tooth fairy will typically replace the tooth from under your child’s pillow at night with some cash. In 2017, the going rate was an average of $5.70 per tooth!  

  1. India, China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam
In some Asian countries, kids who lose teeth from their lower jaw will throw their teeth on their roof, while upper jaw teeth go on the floor or even under it. The idea is that the new tooth will be pulled towards the old tooth. 
As the child tosses their tooth, they may also yell out a wish that the missing tooth is replaced by the tooth of a mouse. This is because mice have teeth that continually grow.
  1. Mongolia 

Throughout Central Asia, it’s tradition to put the tooth into fat and feed it to a dog. The background behind this is so the grown-up tooth is as strong as a dog’s teeth. No dog? Bury it by a tree so that the new tooth has strong roots.

These traditions also encourage kids to have good oral hygiene. In some countries, if the tooth fairy discovers a dirty tooth, it will be left behind with no present in return. We have created the 1-2-3 Grin! Kids Oral Care Pack to help kids turn brush time into fun time! The brushing challenge reward chart ensures little one’s take good care of their tiny pearlers by brushing and flossing every day. 

Whatever your tooth fairy tradition may be, you can always expect your child to enjoy the novelty. They will also have fun coming up with ideas on who the tooth fairy is, what their day job is or what they may be doing with the teeth after being collected. Be prepared to have a good laugh over the adorable ideas that they come up with!


*These are fun story findings, not necessarily the cultural norm.*