It’s a common American tradition that when a child loses a tooth, the tooth collector known as the tooth fairy comes to pay a visit. While the method of disposing lost teeth isn’t exactly new, the idea of the tooth fairy is relatively recent. Parkcrest Dental looks at the history of the tooth fairy and how a story became a reality.
The Tooth Fairy Across The Globe
In most parts of the world, there are many myths that discuss the disposal of baby teeth in different cultures.
Spain: In the late 1800s a character named Ratoncito Perez was known as the collector of teeth. When a child lost a tooth, it was customary for a child to place their tooth under their pillow and Ratoncito would exchange the tooth for a gift.
Italy: In Italy, the tooth fairy’s role was actually played by a small mouse called Topolino.
France: In Belgium, the tooth fairy was known as a little white mouse who bought children’s teeth in exchange for coins.
Japan: In Japan, children would throw lost upper teeth straight into the ground and lower teeth up into the air. They did this with hope that their incoming teeth would come in straight.
American Tooth Fairy
The American version of the tooth fairy is widely believed to have taken shape due to the production of fairies being publicized in books and pop culture. The earliest American discussion of the tooth fairy appeared in a children’s book by Esther Watkins Arnold in 1927. Ever since then, the legend of the tooth fairy has taken on many different roles. Some children believe that the tooth fairy uses teeth to build a giant tooth castle.
Should My Child Believe?
When a child loses a tooth, parents begin to discuss the expectations regarding tooth fairy visits. Should they participate in the legend? That’s up to parents to decide. Children typically begin losing baby teeth around the ages of 5 and 8. By the time all the adult teeth have come in, a child would have lost 20 baby teeth. Some things to consider when thinking about telling your child about the tooth fairy:
It Encourages Good Dental Habits
Many children dread brushing their teeth at a young age. Introducing the tooth fairy to them gives an incentive to develop good brushing habits while getting a small reward.
Make The Experience Magical
When you’re able to take on the role of the tooth fairy, you have the opportunity to make it fun! Buy your child a special pillow to use when the tooth fairy comes or write a note for them in fancy handwriting. Even adding a little of bit of glitter on their pillow to pose as fairy dust is a small touch you can add.
You Don’t Have To Give Cash
If money is tight, there are other options than giving your child money. Rewards for lost teeth can take many shapes and forms. Think of a trip to the park or a later bedtime. You can get creative when it comes to the tooth fairy since there isn’t a specific set of rules you have to follow. Make it unique to your child!
Take Your Child To Parkcrest Dental
Parkcrest Dental specializes in pediatric dentistry and will make any child feel right at home if it’s their first visit to the dentist. Contact us online or visit us at our Springfield, MO location to learn more about how to get your child excited about their dental care.