In early Europe, it was a tradition to bury baby teeth that fell out. When a child's sixth tooth falls out, it is a custom for parents to slip a gift or money from the tooth fairy under the child's pillow, but to take the tooth as a reward.
In northern Europe, there was also a tradition of tand-fé or tooth fee, which was paid when a child lost its first tooth. This tradition is recorded in writings as early as the Eddas, which are the earliest written record of Norse and Northern European traditions.
The reward left varies by country, the family's economic status, amounts the child's peers report receiving and other factors. A recent survey found that American children receive $3.70 per tooth on average.
During the Middle Ages, other superstitions arose surrounding children's teeth.
In England, for example, children were instructed to burn their baby teeth in order to save the child from hardship in the afterlife. Children who didn't consign their baby teeth to the fire would spend eternity searching for them in the afterlife.
The Vikings, it is said, paid children for their teeth. In the Norse culture, children's teeth and other articles belonging to children were said to bring good luck in battle, and Scandinavian warriors hung children's teeth on a string around their necks.
Fear of witches was another reason to bury or burn teeth.
In medieval Europe, it was thought that if a witch were to get hold of one of one's teeth, it could lead to them having total power over him or her.