History of the Tooth Fairy


A good friend of mine asked me to blog about the tooth fairy. Where did this originate?

The first interesting piece of data is that most cultures have a tooth fairy legend! The idea of putting the tooth under a pillow and waking up with the tooth gone and money replacing it seems to come from Norse and Viking legends in the 13th Century, according to Wikipedia. As of last year, Wikipedia reports that the average amount of money per tooth is up to $3.70!

In the Middle Ages, there were superstitions: the English burned teeth to avoid bad luck; in other parts of Europe they thought witches could get your teeth and control you.

In Spanish speaking countries they have a mouse. In Spain he is called “Perez mouse” and throughout South America there is some version of the mouse. In Italy and France there is also the little mouse, and in Lowland Scotland there is a white fairy rat.

In Asia the tradition is to throw the teeth somewhere. In India, China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam the tradition is to throw the lower teeth onto the roof and upper teeth toward the ground in hopes of getting the tooth of a mouse (more mouse connections!) because mice keep growing teeth. In Japan they throw the teeth straight up or straight down in the hope that the teeth come in straight.

In the Middle East there are some countries where the tooth is thrown toward Allah, the tradition dating back to the 13th century.

The above information came from the Wikipedia article entitled “Tooth fairy.”

For more information there is a book that can be purchased from Amazon called “Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World” by Selby Beeler (author) and G. Brian Karas (illustrator).