Teeth in Mythology
As a kid, there is a lot to learn about our teeth and how to take care of them. While plenty of this has to do with regular brushing and the ins and outs of oral hygiene, there is another side to this education that stems from roots far older. All around the world, people have different practices and traditions surrounding the loss of your baby teeth and what to do with them. Don’t let this distract you, though. We all practice traditions around our teeth, but we also all need to go in twice a year for our Tulsa teeth cleaning.
Most of you will be familiar with the Tooth Fairy, who comes and collects our fallen baby teeth from beneath our pillows and usually leaves us money or treats in their place. While this is a very mainstream tradition, in its current form, it is only around a century old. There are previous iterations of astounding similarity, and most of them feature a mouse in place of the fairy.
There are still numerous societies where the tradition holds the tooth collector to its old form, and for children in those societies, it is a very special mouse that comes to gather their teeth and leave behind presents in their place. Presumably, these presents are in the form of money, candy, and other such treats, and not what we might locally think of when someone talks about a mouse “leaving presents.”
This tradition of the mouse should be easily relatable for those who grew up with the tooth fairy, as they carry the same core components and even share elements of origin. Before people started putting lost teeth under their pillows, they used to bury them in the yard. In some traditions, the family would do this for their children, and it had a symbolic element of sacrifice wherein the baby teeth were given to the earth in return for the child receiving protection from future hardships in their life. In the adult world, it’s the dentist that protects you from these hardships by giving you that twice-yearly Tulsa teeth cleaning.
The theme of putting lost teeth in specific places is quite widespread. Many peoples will throw their lost teeth onto a particular part of their land or house depending on various variables. These can include things such as the visual and physical condition of the tooth, where in the mouth the tooth came from, local variations of tradition, and what boon they are hoping to trade that tooth in for. To those who practice such traditions, there are spiritual elements that go far beyond this western and mechanical style of wording. Depending on the society, the individual, and the tooth, these teeth may end up on the roof of the house, out in the front yard, tossed into a body of water, or even thrown up into the sky.
While less mythologized than the previous traditions mentioned, it is not uncommon for people to keep the teeth that they lose. Sometimes this is the person whose teeth it is, but often it has been parents keeping these baby teeth in various forms of personal sentimentality and homemade folklore. Many attics have a bag of baby teeth sitting in a box alongside long-disused toys and clothes. Ask your parents, they may have your baby teeth laying around, and dollars to donuts says they ask you if you’ve come in recently for your bi-anual Tulsa teeth cleaning.
Separation of Myth and Dentistry
People are creators of belief, and all people have teeth. It should be no surprise to any of us that our traditions for dealing with something as commonly shared as the loss of baby teeth are so broad and nuanced. And it’s important to remember that from a dental perspective, none of these beliefs are wrong; they all deal with teeth after their natural loss. What is essential from a dental view is that you take care of your teeth while they’re still in your head. Brush them twice a day and schedule a Tulsa teeth cleaning appointment.