Tooth Traditions Around the World

What in the world do YOU do with your tooth?

A boy in Mexico leaves his tooth in a box on his bedside table.  He hopes that the magic mouse, El Ratón, will take his tooth and leave some money.

A girl in South Africa leaves her tooth in a slipper in her room.  A mouse comes at night, takes the tooth, and leaves a gift.

A boy in Vietnam throws his upper tooth under his bed and his lower tooth on the roof.

There are hundreds of interesting tooth traditions around the world. Selby B. Beeler takes a look some of them in Throw Your Tooth on the Roof – Tooth Traditions from Around the World.   


This is a fun book to share with children and a great way to explore world geography and cultures.

Read students the first page of the book and give them time to explain what they do with their teeth when they fall out.  Share the cover of the book, and tell them they will be hearing what children in other countries do with their teeth.  Show the map in the front of the book, and identify the continents, regions, and countries that will be featured.

Be sure to keep a wall map or globe handy as you travel through the story.  Have students locate each country, and mark it with a tack or sticker.  Take notes on a class chart, and use it to identify similarities and differences along the way. Compare the places children put their teeth (glass, cotton, roof, etc.), the people, animals, or objects that take the teeth (fairy, rat, sun, etc.), and the things children receive in place of their teeth (money, gifts, nothing, etc.).


  • Are there any connections between the part of the world children live in and the tradition they follow?
  • What traditions are most like your own?
  • Which is your favorite tradition?

Throw Your Tooth on the Roof

Using Bloom’s Taxonomy to focus on higher level thinking skills, Globe Trottin’ Kids designed task cards to accompany the book.  Skills include recalling facts, explaining ideas, using information in new situations, drawing connections, justifying a position, and producing original work.  The product is available for purchase here.

A reading of the book is available on YouTube.

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