The Baby Teeth Issue: What The Hell To Do With Them?

by Jennifer Ball
Originally Published: 
tooth fairy
Anna Anisimova / iStock

Anna Anisimova / iStock

Anna Anisimova

The difference between people with kids and those without? If you find stashes of human teeth in a non-child household, you might think “serial killer” rather than “aw, the Tooth Fairy was here.”

I was cleaning the other day, and I found baby teeth everywhere. It was like being Jame Gumb’s housekeeper. Molars, little tiny front teeth, a couple of canines—I found them in the junk drawer, on the top shelf of my bathroom vanity next to the floss and the concealer, in the kitschy votive holder/change catcher in the kitchen. Everywhere.

Being the Tooth Fairy is so fun when you’re a noob. I have vague memories of tiptoeing into the sleeping babe’s room, gently holding their sweet angelic heads aloft while slipping the envelope containing glitter, a handwritten note on parchment paper, a few stray hairs from a unicorn’s mane, and a crisp dollar bill under their pillow.

That was what happened with Charlie, my first kid, and maybe for the first couple of teeth Molly, my second child, lost.

William, the fourth child, ended up just handing me whichever tooth fell out, and I gave him whatever I had floating around in my purse. For his last tooth, I think he got a Subway coupon, but the thought is what counts, friends.

Now that they are all getting older and my mind is more occupied with things like lost innocence, lost FAFSA passwords and lost remotes, I find myself wondering: What to do with the teeth? Do you toss them in the garbage? Bury them in the backyard? I know, from years of watching CSI and Law & Order, that teeth aren’t biodegradable. They find them, decades later, and I hate to think of the FBI knocking on the front door of one of my grown children after finding a mouthful of their teeth in a landfill or a backyard.

I suppose I could go all American Horror Story/Pinterest and make a mosaic picture frame or trivet with them, but that might raise eyebrows. And, besides, I don’t own a glue gun.

At moments such as these, I try to think WWMSFD? (what would my sane friends do?). I know the answer. They’d chuck the teeth without a moment’s hesitation. But I can’t do that, not just yet. Maybe it’s because I’m so super-sentimental, maybe it’s because I come from a long and distinguished line of hoarders. I don’t know.

What I do know is that for now, the baby teeth stay. I have moved them from their scattered resting spots, gathered all of them in a baggie, and tucked them into a dresser drawer like the world’s most horrifying stash. They share space with my fossilized collection of sexy lingerie, so you know they will lie undisturbed for a long time.

Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who has kept them. This could easily turn into a “What? You guys didn’t keep their umbilical cord stumps, too?” debacle. Talk about awkward.

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