Where Did The Tooth Fairy Come From?
The Tooth Fairy is a fun rite of passage for kids and she’s revered in the same way as the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. But really, if you think about any of these characters for too long, you might start to wonder who came up with them and why! Great Outdoors Pediatric Dentistry did a little bit of research and discovered a little bit about her origins. This information will be fun for grown-ups and older kids alike, and hopefully satisfy a little bit of curiosity at the same time.
Tooth Myths Throughout History
In early European traditions, a child’s lost tooth would be buried in the ground. This was believed to bring good luck to the children and spare them from hardships. Vikings would use their children’s lost teeth and other items from their children, in order to bring them good luck as they went into battle. Vikings were scary guys, but that’s kind of an endearing tradition!
In reality, the most popular tooth mascot throughout the ages has been that of a mouse. The mouse would enter the child’s room at night to remove his or her teeth. In fact, this tradition is still very much alive in countries like China, Spain and Russia. In many European countries, gifts aren’t left in exchange for lost teeth until the 6th tooth is lost.
The reason that rodents are used as a “Tooth Fairy” in so many cultures is because mice actually grow their teeth their entire lives. Parents in these cultures believe that, in this way, the mice will transfer good luck to the child whose tooth has been lost.
The American Tooth Fairy
The Tooth Fairy that we know and love, was inspired by the mouse tradition combined with the myth of the good fairy. The first mention of her was in a book published in 1927. Once Walt Disney’s fairy characters gained more and more popularity, the obscure Tooth Fairy tradition quickly became something almost all parents incorporated into their homes.
A few generations ago, we were lucky to receive a quarter for our tooth, but a recent survey conducted by Visa found that the average American child now received around $3.75 per tooth! Sometimes the Tooth Fairy will leave more money for larger teeth or for the last tooth lost.
In the end, the main reason that Tooth Fairy legend has continued to grow is because she provides comfort and excitement for children during a time that could otherwise be traumatic. Losing a tooth can be scary and overwhelming for children, but if they have a visit from the Tooth Fairy to look forward to, it can make tooth loss a much more acceptable thing to deal with. As a parent, you can use the Tooth Fairy to encourage your children to take better care of their teeth – the cleaner the tooth, the larger the reward will be! It will be much easier to get your child to brush and floss daily and to tolerate dental appointments if they know that a reward is waiting for them!
To make an appointment with our skilled pediatric dentists, please contact Great Outdoors Pediatrics, located in Dover, NH!