Time for Some Mystery: Tooth Fairy & Tooth Mouse

tooth fairyIt can be exciting or very traumatic for small children when they start losing their baby teeth. Sometimes the tooth is loose enough that it will fall off very easily, but in some cases it could cause some pain and slight bleeding too. To help ease the worries of their small children and to make the event more exciting for them, parents have associated certain traditions and customs with losing teeth. In English speaking countries, the mystical character of the Tooth Fairy is widely known. But in other nations, across the world, people have their own version of tales and traditions associated with this event so that parents can make the event less dreadful for their children.

Note – The customs and traditions vary widely in different countries. If you could share some additional information about the ones followed in your country, you are most welcome.

Mystical Character – The Tooth Fairy

Placing the lost tooth underneath the pillow is a tradition which is followed in countries like Canada, United States and England. According to the fairy tale, the tooth fairies visit the children at night, purchase the tooth for some coins and use the teeth to build all kinds of things in their fairy land.

The British people are very much familiar with this mythological character, The Tooth Fairy. The concept of this bedtime visitor or tooth collecting mythological character has been around for several centuries. It was in the year 1949, Lee Rogow published the story version as “The Tooth Fairy”.  The tooth collecting fairy is very popular among small children in various other countries such as Australia, Norway, Germany, Ireland, America, Demark and Canada.

It is not that that tooth fairy buys the tooth in exchange for money alone. Sometimes children can also expect to find small toys or other gift items.

Mystical Character – Tooth Mouse

In some countries like Mexico, Guatemala and other Spanish speaking cultures, the fairy that collects teeth is actually a mouse.  A fairy mouse to be precise. Raton Perez, the mystical mouse fairy which Mexican people believe in, actually leaves a few coins in exchange for the tooth which the small children leave under their pillow. In Spain, the mystical mouse fairy is called by the name Ratoncito Perez or Raton de los Dientes.

La Petite Souris, or the little mouse is the fairy tale character which small children of France are familiar with. This tooth mouse leaves small toys and gifts in exchange for the tooth. The White Fairy Mouse which the Scottish people believe in leaves coins in exchange for tooth.

The mystical character, the Tooth Mouse, was known to have existed even before the Tooth Fairy. There has been a mention of this mythological character in the 17th century French story book “La Bonne Petite Souris”. This fairy tale is all about a fairy mouse that takes on an evil king and defeats him. According to this Good Little Mouse story, the mouse knocks down the teeth of the evil king while he is sleeping at night time.

As decades passed by, a new version of the sweet, money bearing mouse developed. Here the mouse would creep in at night time and leave a coin in exchange for the tooth placed under the pillow. France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland, Mexico, Morocco, Argentina, Algeria and Venezuela are some of the nations where tooth mouse is very popular.

Pacifiers and Teeth

Many parents use pacifiers to help soothe and comfort their babies.  But parents may also be concerned about the effects of pacifiers after long term use.  You can rest assured that your baby can enjoy a pacifier without it interfering with early oral health, if it is used correctly. Here are some things you should know about pacifiers and teeth.

The benefits of pacifiers for infants and toddlers is it gives them comfort and a way for them to calm themselves.  According to some researchers, infants who use pacifiers are also at a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome. But if used incorrectly, pacifiers do have their downsides.  Bacteria that cause tooth decay don’t occur naturally in children’s mouths, they are passed on.  So, putting a pacifier in your own mouth before giving it to your child introduces that possibility of bacteria being exchanged. Some parents also encourage tooth decay be dipping the pacifier in sugar or honey before giving it to their baby. Lastly, keep in mind that long term use can create crooked teeth, bite problems, changes in jaw alignment, and imperfect tooth position.  It is a good idea to try and wean your child of the pacifier by the time they are beginning to talk so that they can learn proper speech.

If you are considering a pacifier for your child, you will want to be sure to buy one-piece pacifiers with no moving parts.  Be sure that they have sealed bases and shields that are wider than your baby’s mouth. Also, choose a nipple made with silicon because it will harbor fewer germs than latex.

Other things to consider are to be sure to clean the pacifier thoroughly before putting it in your baby’s mouth.  Don’t attach a pacifier to a string, cord or ribbon as it can be a strangulation hazard. Talk to your pediatrician or dentist if your baby hasn’t given up the pacifier by age three.

Caring for your infant’s teeth isn’t just about correct pacifier use.  Clean your child’s teeth twice a day and floss them once they begin touching one another.

Pacifiers and Teeth: How To Protect Your Baby’s Oral Health|Colgate

How Do Foods Affect Our Teeth?

teethIn an article from The Dental Health Site, we can read about the affects that different candy, snacks and other foods have on our teeth. Eating candy, toffee, snacks and munchies can cause teeth to decay because of the cultivated starches that get stuck between the teeth.  Over time the bacteria in our mouths feed on these foods and cause plaque which leads to tooth decay and gum disease.

The article also discusses the consequences of fast food in children.  It affects not only their teeth, but their overall health.  Read more about this here: How Does Candy And Snacks Affect Our Teeth.

What Are Your Teeth Telling You?

what are your teeth telling youHave you noticed a crooked tooth?  Or a pain in a tooth?  Or maybe sore gums?  You may be ignoring these small issues in your mouth, but you shouldn’t.  This is actually your mouths way of telling you that something could be wrong. So what are your teeth telling you? Here are some of the most common dental complaints and what they mean.

Sharp tooth pain – If you experience a sharp, sudden pain in your tooth while biting down, you may have a cavity or some form of tooth decay. When holes get deep in your tooth, it will cause sensitivity. If the pain occurs only once, it’s probably nothing to worry about. But if it is consistent, definitely see your dentist.

Achy tooth pain – An achy pain may be nothing if it is only lasting a day or two, but pain that lasts for more than a week could be a sign that you’re grinding or clenching teeth.

Yellow or stained teeth – Stained or yellow teeth are almost never a sign of serious dental concerns.  Stains usually develop from foods or drinks that you are eating or drinking. They can also become stained from tobacco use. Whitening toothpastes or products can help to get rid of the stains.

Loose or crooked teeth that weren’t there before – If your tooth feels loose or becomes crooked it may be the result of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can cause bone loss around your teeth and jaw. If you aren’t taking care of your teeth properly this can cause periodontal disease.

Bleeding gums or red, swollen gums – This can be caused by bacteria build up or it could be caused by a hormone change such as pregnancy.  If the symptoms go on after a day or two of diligent brushing and flossing then see your dentist.

Sores in the mouth – Painful sores in your mouth can often be the result of eating too much citrus, or spicy foods. Pains from these kinds of things should disappear within a few days. If the sores linger it could be a vitamin A deficiency.

Gum pain – If your gums hurt and are sensitive to cold air, or hot or cold liquids, it could be a cavity.  Or it could mean that your gums have receded and are exposing the roots of your teeth. Gum pain can be caused by many things.  If you have persistent gum pain, you should see your dentist.

7 Weird Things Your Teeth Are Trying To Tell You|Prevention

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Teeth

In a playful article written by Amanda Green of Mental Floss, you can read 10 things you probably didn’t know about teeth.

Everybody knows how important brushing, flossing and routine dental visits are for your teeth.  But there are some very interesting things about teeth that you may have never heard. Like…..

Some babies are born with teeth. About one in every 2000 babies is born with teeth.  These are called natal teeth and are often removed to prevent know about teethproblems with breastfeeding and accidental swallowing.

Not all people lose their baby teeth. If a permanent tooth doesn’t start making it’s way into a child’s gums, then the baby tooth won’t fall out and may need to be extracted by a dentist.

On the other hand, some people don’t stop losing teeth. Strangely, some people have extra teeth, also called super numerary teeth.  Most of these remain below the gum line, but occasionally may erupt and crowd other teeth.  If this happens, they can be removed by a dentist.

Read the next 7 things that you never knew about teeth by checking out the article on Mental Floss in it’s entirety here: Can You Handle The Tooth? 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Teeth | Mental Floss.