Tuesday Talk: Keepsakes or Not

Heather says:

Yesterday on the Home-Ec 101 Facebook Fan Page I asked about baby teeth. Are they precious memorabilia or are they something that must be disposed of immediately?

I don’t like teeth. I don’t know when I started getting skeeved out by them, but I am. I think it started in my teens when I started having THAT nightmare, the one where you’re talking or eating and all of your teeth start falling out? Ugh. I cringe inwardly when our oldest shows us another wiggly tooth -good night, how many teeth does this kid have?!- and I know we have two more sets to go.  So yeah, there’s baggage on the teeth front here. In our house, the tooth fairy does not pass go, she tosses the teeth.

I used to clean houses and I did stumble on other people’s baby teeth from time to time. The most memorable occasion was finding a small pile of teeth in a dusty dish on a piano. I suppose surprise teeth might be a great find if you’re an archaeologist learning about an ancient culture or a CSI agent looking for a clue. In my world? Surprise teeth aren’t cool.

How do you feel about baby teeth?
Are they something to save or toss?
And if you do save them, how do you store them?

On an unrelated note, if you have satellite radio I’ll be interviewed tomorrow on The Catholics Next Door (Channel 129) at 11:20 AM Eastern.


  1. James Cook on March 9, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    I think a photo works better thank keeping actual baby teeth! A cute photo goes a long way.

  2. Bobbie Laughman on May 12, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    I guess it doesn't happen in every case, but the baby teeth I had saved broke into pieces after several years. I was a little bit sad, but they got tossed.

    My recent post NotoriousTBG- @Marcusbabe Oh- I agree Theres a place for reading stuff for fun- but its like junk food for the mind Shouldnt live on just that

  3. floweryhedgehog on May 12, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    I could see keeping the first tooth to fall out, especially if one had a little keepsake box for it. I'm not gonna run out and buy one though. Like Emily, I'm not sure I'd feel right about throwing them in the trash, either–no specific reason, I just think I'd feel weird doing it. So the burial idea sounds good to me.

  4. Vicky Jones on May 12, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Oh, yes. I still have them. All of those baby teeth frm my daughter's childhood. She is 36 now; I don't know what I will do with them. However, I remember when she discovered them (in a jewelry box, same one all these years). I've often wonder what to do with them, but figure they are hers and she can throw them out when I pass through the pearly gates!

  5. jansam on May 11, 2011 at 6:42 am

    To really gross you out, my mother made earrings with the first two teeth I lost!! And I'm sure at some point as a child I actually wore them although I seem to have suppressed that thought! Although as a child I think I assumed everyone had baby teeth earrings!

    • HeatherSolos on May 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm

      There has to be some sort of hall of fame for that dedication. I'm just speechless here.

  6. Emily on May 10, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    I don't think so. I'm so excited that she has 2 teeth, but I don't think I need them. As for what to do with them.. throwing them in the trash seems wrong somehow. I think maybe we'll bury them. Return some calcium to the soil or something. In the off chance that my husband want to keep them, I think I'll try to gross him out by making them into a little denture set and putting on top of his ice cream. lol. okay, probably not. but ew

  7. Linda on May 10, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    I have my daughter's baby teeth in a little silver keepsake box along with her first haircut in my safe. She is now 30 and it just makes me remember her as my little baby when I look at them.

  8. Anna on May 10, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    I said no on the facebook page, but here I'll add that my husband's tooth fairy pillow was unloaded on us a few years into our marriage. Inside the tooth pillow was a tooth, still! I think that's what solidified my stance on throwing them away, and none of our kids had lost teeth yet.

    • HeatherSolos on May 10, 2011 at 7:18 pm

      You're just confirming my stance on surprise body parts.

  9. Keter Magick on May 10, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    My mother saved a bunch of stuff of mine, including teeth, but when she passed away, most of it was thrown out by my grandmother, and then the rest of the family stuff was thrown out by the executor of her estate (nasty soap opera omitted). When my first marriage broke up, I lost almost everything, so I have almost nothing from my growing up or my kids' early years. What little I do have, including my son's first shed tooth and a lock of his baby hair, I placed in a small trunk and will offer it to him when he finally settles down (he's 30 and that doesn't look like it will happen). I did save his favorite t-shirts over the years, with the intention of sewing them into a baby quilt when (if) he reproduces. If he doesn't want it within the next decade, I will probably throw it all away.

  10. Amy@TasteLikeCrazy on May 10, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    My mom still has a ponytail from my first haircut. Grosses me out. She's kept so much random stuff from my childhood that I've noticed I almost have an aversion to keeping stuff from my own kids. I find I'm perfectly capable of keeping the memories without having to keep the body castoffs and such.
    My recent post A Foul Fowl- Roasted Chicken with Lemon Fingerling Potatoes

  11. Jenni on May 10, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Any teeth that my step-daughter lost at our house, I have kept. And when my baby girl starts losing her teeth I will probably keep them as well. I was pondering the other day why I am keeping them. Then I decided that I was doing it because my mom did it. Currently they are kept in ziploc baggies in my jewelry box. But they definitely aren't out for display. In fact, since the "tooth fairy" collects the teeth, my step-daughter probably doesn't even know I have them.

  12. Chloe on May 10, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I'm on the same page as you! Teeth kind of weird me out, actually! I'm not going to keep my daughter's. I figure that teeth are not something I am going to break out of the baby book and look at when she's older. Clothes or toys maybe, but not teeth!
    My recent post Shame on me!

  13. Cara on May 10, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    We were given little keepsake boxes for her first tooth & first curl when she was born. I’ll probably tuck that away in her keepsake box for her, but the rest I’ll throw away. I can’t see any of us wanting all of them.

  14. Nell on May 10, 2011 at 11:23 am

    My little one is just getting his baby teeth, but I think I'll keep them when he loses them. I don't know exactly what I'll do with them though. But I even kept my own wisdom teeth when they had to come out so… yeah…

  15. Anne on May 10, 2011 at 10:32 am

    I recently discovered that my son has a little cup holding all his teeth in it. The tooth fairy at our house usually left money, but also left the tooth b/c upon losing his first tooth, my son wrote a note to the tooth fairy asking her to leave the tooth for him. She didn't really want it anyways.) My first thought when I discovered his cup of teeth was "oh, for cute." My second thought was "didn't I read somewhere that serial killers have a collection of bones?" I quickly surpressed that thought and asked him what he was going to do with his collection of teeth. I suggested that we could make a necklace of the teeth – instead of a shark's tooth necklace it would be a John's tooth necklace. He wasn't sure about that. I am not for keeping teeth or hair, but if they want to keep it, I'm all for that. (I do keep artwork, though. I can't seem to get rid of that.)
    My recent post Easter Chickens Instead of Easter Baskets

  16. Marianne on May 10, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I know my mother saved all her kids' teeth for at least several years. She kept them in her jewelry box. I'm not sure if they're still there or not. When the time comes that my mother is no longer with us (many many years from now, God willing), if I am the one going through her belongings, the teeth will be tossed out, no questions asked.

  17. Salix on May 10, 2011 at 9:47 am

    I don't save baby teeth, but I do have hair clippings from the 4 kids first haircuts.

  18. Melissa Mae on May 10, 2011 at 9:02 am

    I remember finding my baby teeth in my mom's jewelry cabinet and feeling love. Why I felt that way rather than being grossed out? I don't know. I just did. However, after finding them and feeling that love, I feel that they have served every purpose they were ever intended to serve and could be trashed (and worn as a necklace…j/k). I'm keeping my kids teeth long enough for them to have that opportunity to feel that same love (even though I'll understand if they don't have that same feeling as I did).

    • Vicky Jones on May 12, 2011 at 11:01 am

      Wow, I don't feel so bad about keeping all my daughter's baby teeth. I remember when she found them all in my jewerly box (yah, gross, huh)… Anyway, she is 36 going on 37 and I still have them. I wonder what to do with them now… so I procrastinate. Vicky J

  19. Chelsey on May 10, 2011 at 8:54 am

    My daughter just started to get her teeth in. I never even thought about what to do with the teeth when she losses them until now! Im not sure what I would do with them though. All her keepsakes I will scrapbook or quilt, but im not to sure about glueing teeth into a scrapbook or sewing them on to a quilt … : / Perhaps they will find their way into the trash.

  20. Jenny on May 10, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Nope. I started to save them and then thought, "Why???"

    I'm curious to find out, from the people who save them, what they plan to do with them.
    My recent post Fading Fast

    • HeatherSolos on May 10, 2011 at 8:19 am

      Hopefully the answer isn't, "I plan to display them in a dusty dish on the piano."

      If I find out I've alienated a large segment of the population with that story, I'm going to feel like a jerk. 😉

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