As your child reaches the age of six or seven years old, it’s normal for their baby teeth to start loosen and fall out to make room for permanent teeth to grow in. When their teeth fall out, a lot of parents tell their child to leave their tooth under their pillow for the Tooth Fairy. The Tooth Fairy leaves money as a present in exchange for their tooth. This tradition is so common in the United States, but have you ever wondered where it began?
Where did the Tooth Fairy come from?
Some of the earliest stories tell of a tradition called “tand-fe” or tooth fee. This Norse tradition suggests vikings kept and wore children’s teeth for good luck in battle. Other European traditions say children’s teeth were buried in order to spare the child from hardships in their next life.
However, the most popular version of a ‘tooth deity’ is a mouse. A tradition in Spain, Russia, China, and other asian countries, this mouse would remove baby teeth from the children’s mouth while they were sleeping.
Finally, in Europe, a nice fairy was pulled from fairy tales and popular literature to add a magical element to the scary, uncomfortable experience both children and parents are going through when they lose their first tooth. Today, the Tooth Fairy has been visualized in many different ways in stories, television shows, and movies. Some show the Tooth Fairy as a glittery, fluttery ballerina-type woman with a magical wand, while some show the Tooth Fairy as white-coat wearing male dentist with dental instruments in hand.
Using the Tooth Fairy to Promote Better Dental Hygiene
While your child’s baby teeth falling out is inevitable, it’s a great opportunity to encourage your child to improve their dental hygiene habits and take better care of their smile. Parents often tell children they will receive more money or better gifts from the Tooth Fairy if the tooth is clean and healthy.
Becoming the Tooth Fairy
If you choose to carry on the Tooth Fairy tradition for your child, pediatric dentist Dr. David Moore has a few tips for making it a memorable experience when your child loses a tooth:
- Include a written note from the Tooth Fairy with the money or gift. In the note, praise your child for their great dental hygiene, good dental habits, healthy smile, or even leave a comment encouraging improvement in areas where they usually lack like flossing or not brushing long enough.
- Leave glitter on the window sill and floor going to their bed. The glitter trail will add an extra bit of magic and excitement.
- Put their money in a special Tooth Fairy envelope. Use a fun stamp or photo on the envelope with glitter or glitter glue.
Do you need help explaining the transition of baby teeth to permanent teeth to your child? If you have questions, reach out to Dr. Moore at Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry in Charlotte, NC.