February 28th is National Tooth Fairy Day. So, when did the legend of the tooth fairy begin? How do countries around the world celebrate the tooth fairy? Learn some fun ways to incorporate the tooth fairy into your child’s life when she loses a tooth.
The History of the Tooth Fairy
The origins of the tooth fairy stem from an evolution of sorts that spans centuries of time. The legend of the Tooth Fairy is distinct across many different cultures. Some cultures disposed of lost teeth by throwing the teeth into a fire. Others threw them over a roof of a home. Some chose to bury them. Early European traditions buried the teeth to guard against hardships the child might face, while other cultures would wear their children’s teeth for good luck during battle. One of the more recent European traditions believed there was a tooth deity (in the form of a mouse) who entered the rooms of children to take away their baby teeth.
American’s introduced the tooth fairy happened around the turn of the 20th century. In fact, America’s tooth fairy is a combination of various traditions and cultures around the world that came together (with a little help from Disney). Yes, Disney. Around the same time that the tradition of the tooth fairy in America was coming into existence came the fairies in the movies Cinderella and Pinocchio. Fairies that were benevolent wish-granters. The first appearance of the modern Tooth Fairy was in a playlet written for children by Esther Watkins Arnold in 1927. The Tooth Fairy legend was still vague in the 1920s and 1930s but picked up in popularity as Disney fairy characters became household names.
Ideas to Make Celebrating the Tooth Fairy’s Arrival Fun!
While most children get excited about a visit from the tooth fairy, some can fear it. Make sure to talk with your child to ascertain how they feel about this “magical” visitor coming into their room while they are sleeping one night.
To make the tooth fairy more fun, consider the following ideas:
- Leave a gift: inexpensive toys, books or treats, or money.
- Make it magical with some scene builders: incorporate glitter, footprints, stickers, fairy dust or a note from the Tooth Fairy. (If you leave a note, have the tooth fairy encourage the child to take care of her teeth!)
- Make a tooth fairy box with your child: Any small container will do! Have fun decorating it together.
The Tooth Fairy tradition is a rite of passage for many children and adds to the magic of those young years. A little extra effort to make it special will be remembered long into the future by your child. Incorporating a lesson on oral care at the same time as all the Tooth Fairy attention will help cement the importance into your child’s current and future life.
Let Teeth Come Out When They’re Ready
Children may become overly excited/motivated to lose teeth in hopes of gaining a reward from the tooth fairy. No matter what, it is important to guide children towards a timely loss of teeth. Baby teeth act as placeholders for developing adult teeth. Baby teeth serve an important role in speech, digestion, tooth placement, and confidence. Safeguarding the health of your child’s teeth is important so that teeth don’t fall out prematurely.
Call Young Family Dental today to schedule an oral wellness consult for you and your child. Dedicate a visit to the dentist every six months to stay ahead of early childhood tooth decay and to keep smiles bright.