Culture Shock

Throw Your Baby Teeth on the Roof!

You’re eating your turkey and cheese sandwich at lunch when a strange, yet pleasant surprise comes out of your mouth… your tooth. You’ve been wiggling this baby tooth for a week straight, waiting for it to finally fall out. Ever since the kids in your class shared about the wealth they’ve recently acquired from this magical being that collects baby teeth if you put it under your pillow, that’s all you’ve been thinking about. They called it the “tooth fairy”.  You safely put the tooth in your pocket, ensuring you don’t lose it and periodically checking on it throughout the day. 

Right before bedtime, you brush your teeth and carefully avoid the sore spot where your tooth once laid. You then carefully place your baby tooth right underneath your pillow and ecstatically fall asleep. When you wake up, you immediately check your pillow to see if your tooth got replaced with money. To your surprise, there laid your tooth, right where you left it the night before. You disappointingly pick it up and bring it to your mom. “The tooth fairy didn’t come to take my baby tooth,” you say with a disappointed look on your face while holding up the tooth to your mom. She looks back at you with a confused expression on her face. 

“I’m not sure what the tooth fairy is, but I know what we can do with your tooth,” she replies reassuringly. She takes you outside to the front of your house. “Now take your baby tooth, throw it as far as you can on top of the roof,” she says to you. You’re reluctant at first, but then, with all the might your six-year-old body can muster, you throw the tooth. It lands perfectly on top of the roof. 

In countries such as Vietnam, Korea, and Greece, it is common for children to throw their baby teeth onto the roofs of their houses instead of the commonly known “tooth fairy” collecting them. It is believed that throwing your baby teeth on top of your house will bring you good fortune and that your adult teeth will grow healthy and straight. Some even believe that throwing it incorrectly will result in crooked teeth. 

While the tooth fairy didn’t pay me a visit, I was able to take part in a tradition that is a part of my culture. As a kid, it felt like I was missing out on something my classmates were experiencing. However, I’ve learned to love this little tradition I take part in and feel special because of it.