It truly is a pediatric dentistry mystery, where the Tooth Fairy originated. Throughout history and across the globe, parents have built excitement and anticipation around their children’s loss of primary teeth. Indeed, it is a right of passage when a young child begins to see evidence of their growth. Today, Dr. Matt will share some of the folklore around the Tooth Fairy, her mystery, magic, and wonder. Your children will love this!
The American Tooth Fairy
In 1908, Lillian Brown authored an article in the Chicago Tribune encouraging parents to introduce the Tooth Fairy. As the story went, the Tooth Fairy’s token gift prompted children to allow baby teeth to be pulled without tears. Brown suggested a $.05 exchange for each tooth, left under the child’s pillow to help promote the myth.
The average gift left by the Tooth Fairy today is $3.70 in the US, according to a poll by Visa. Other research by Delta Dental shows that in 1998, average payment of $1.80 has risen to $6.23 in 2023!
Tooth Fairy of the Norse and Vikings
In the 10th Century, Norse parents paid tand-fe, or “tooth fee,” to their children in exchange for lost teeth. Some families would burn or bury a child’s first lost tooth, so he would be spared from hardships later in life. Tradition held that a milk tooth not burned or buried would become cause for an eternal search in the afterlife.
Another belief was that if a witch found a child’s tooth, she would hold power over that child for his lifetime.
Also, Viking warriors wore multiple children’s teeth on jewelry to bring good luck and protection.
The Tooth Mouse of France and Spain
In the 18th Century, French parents told their children of Le Bonne Petite Souris (the Little Mouse). This little critter would leave a coin in exchange for a lost baby tooth. Children placed a lost tooth in their shoes, and the following day voila! Payment appeared in its place.
El Ratoncito Perez, or Perez the Little Mouse, is a similar figure in Spain. Hispanic cultures teach children that El Ratoncito Perez will come at night. He will trade a coin for a tooth left near the child’s bedside.
Other Tooth Children’s Tooth Traditions
Folklore across the globe depicts the “tooth fairy” as a beaver, cat, dog, and squirrel. Some rituals involve throwing lost children’s teeth into the fire, sun, or even between the legs! Parents and children have dropped teeth in mouse holes, placed them in trees, and thrown them over a roof. Stranger still, baby teeth have been purposefully swallowed by the child who lost it, his mother, or a family pet. All of these strange rituals were thought to bring luck, protection, or favor.
We Love the Tooth Fairy!
At Smiles Dentistry 4 Kids, Dr. Matt and our team want your children to enjoy taking great care of their teeth. We help parents and children learn how to brush, floss, and protect baby and permanent teeth from dental disease. Every parent should trust their dentist. We respect the trust our patients and their families place in us. Give us a call in Overland Park at (913) 685-9990 today to schedule your child’s dental appointment.