Children around the world lose their baby teeth and many cultures have special traditions that go along with this period of transition.
Under the Pillow
For parents in the United States, children loose their baby teeth and are paid a visit by the tooth fairy. The child places the tooth under his or her pillow before going to sleep at night and the tooth fairy takes the tooth away, leaving money or a small gift in its place. You can even find special tooth pouches in stores for keeping teeth safe under the pillow at night.
Parents in other countries have similar traditions for when children loose teeth. In France, children place teeth under their pillows for La Petite Souris (the little mouse) to come and take it away in the night. Mexican children also leave their tooth for a small mouse to take away. As in the US, children receive money or gifts in exchange. Similarly, in Slovenia, the mouse replaces the baby tooth with a piece of candy.
Throw It Far
Many cultures have traditions of throwing baby teeth for luck. Lebanese children are taught to throw their tooth into the ocean or into a field and say a rhyme for a long life. In Oman, children face the sun and throw the tooth as far as they can. In Greece, children throw their tooth up on top of the roof as a way to receive good luck.
In Japan, upper teeth are thrown under the house, while lower teeth are thrown up on the roof. This is a way of ensuring that lower teeth grow up straight and upper teeth grow down straight.
In some cultures, baby teeth are preserved by parents or even made into jewelry such as charm bracelets or pendents that can be kept. Baby teeth are symbols of childhood and preserving them a way of creating a unique keepsake for the child.