Recently my son has been visiting the dentist. When he was born his teeth never formed properly and when his adult teeth started growing they were discoloured. I blamed myself for so long. I limited his sugar intake and made him clean his teeth like his life depended on it. This did not help. I took him to the dentist when we lived in England and found out he had an enamel deficiency. We were told to use expensive enamel toothpastes. He used them and an electric toothbrush. There was no change!
I took him to the dentist when we moved to France, because his tooth was hurting him. He needed it removing, because it had crumbled. The dentist gave him some dye to put on his teeth to aid in cleaning. Regular treatments of cleaning, combined with his new teeth cleaning regime have made a substantial difference. I am very happy with the progress! He still needs more treatment and braces in the future, but I am one happy Momma!
Anyway, the main point of this blog post is the dentist talked to my son about the tooth mouse. We had never heard of a tooth mouse only a tooth fairy. I found the idea of a cute little mouse collecting the tooth the child had placed under his or her pillow just adorable. I wanted to learn more.
The idea of a tooth fairy has been around since 1927 when Esther Watkins Arnold wrote a children’s play. The excitement a child feels placing their baby tooth under their pillow, anticipating in the morning they would have had a visit and a present in the form of a small payment. This intrigued me to research the origins and find out how other cultures participated in this sweet folklore. The fairy’s appearance over the years has been seen in various versions. Most believe the fairy is female, but some believe the sex is male. I think fairy I think girly! I think Tinkerbell! The actual look of the fairy lies with the child’s imagination.
The tooth mouse in France and Belgium is called “La Petite Souris”. In Spanish cultures the mouse is called “Ratoncito Pérez”. In Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay and Colombia, the mouse is called “El Ratón Pérez”. In Asian countries, when a child loses a tooth from his/her upper jaw she/he is to throw it on a roof and if the bottom throw it into a space beneath the floor, shouting for the tooth to be replaced with that of a mouse, because they grow all the time. The throwing direction is to enable to child’s teeth to grow straight. In Middle Eastern Countries they throw them up to the sun, or up to Allah.
I read that in Europe they use to bury baby teeth, up until the 6th tooth and then they would leave a coin under the child’s pillow and often a trail of fairy dust (glitter) would be found. Nowadays, this tradition is done with every tooth; the amount paid is dependent on the family’s financial situation. In some places an and-fé or tooth fee, would be given for the first tooth lost.
Some crazy superstitions during the middle ages include that baby teeth were to be burnt, to save the child from bad times in the afterlife. The Vikings used baby teeth for good luck during battle. Scandinavian warriors wore and made necklaces out of them. It was believed that if a witch was in possession of one of your teeth they could take control of you.
Whichever superstitious beliefs people have and partake in the fact you are taking part means you believe in the magic. Even though my son is ten years old, he tries to cling onto the magic of the tooth fairy, well now the tooth mouse as that idea is in his mind. I on the other hand try to cling on to the magic, plus the idea of keeping my son a child for as long as possible.