A Brief History of the Tooth Fairy

Parents in San Diego and across the United States make losing baby teeth a little less scary and little more exciting for kids by introducing them to the legend of the tooth fairy. When a child loses a tooth and places it beneath his or her pillow, the tooth fairy takes it and leaves a gift instead (usually cash). How did this fairy tale begin?

The Tooth Fairy – From Terrifying to Terrific

Rituals involving the lost teeth of children actually started out closer to the stuff of nightmares than the happy tale parents tell their children today. In Medieval Times, parents would burn the teeth that their children lost out of fear that a witch would get ahold of the teeth and use them against the family. Of course, not all older tooth rituals were scary. In Norse culture, Vikings believed that the lost teeth of children were a good luck charm.

The modern tale of the tooth fairy as we know it goes back to the early 1900s. A snippet appeared in the Chicago Tribune in 1908 encouraging mothers to purchase items at the 5 cent counter to trade out for teeth left under the pillow, so that a child can be convinced of the tooth fairy.  The idea was promoted as a way to entice little children to allow a loose tooth to be removed.

The Tooth Fairy Today

As a parent, how you choose to help your children see losing their baby teeth as a positive thing is up to you. Some parents would rather not tell such a tall tale to a kid, although according to a 1984 study, 75% of children still liked the custom of getting a gift for leaving lost teeth under the pillow even after finding out the tooth fairy wasn’t real.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you don’t want to try and pull out a loose tooth before it is ready. Your child will likely play with the tooth until it eventually happens and without damage. If a tooth just won’t let go, then it’s time to see a pediatric dentist.

San Diego’s Top Pediatric Dentist’s Office

From helping children understand what to expect as baby teeth fall out and permanent teeth grow in to teaching kids how to care for teeth properly, BRSH+FLSS is the pediatric dental practice that parents trust. Kids love how fun the office is and our friendly staff, and parents love the focus on prevention. Call 619-741-1500 to schedule an appointment.

A Brief History of the Tooth Fairy
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A Brief History of the Tooth Fairy
When a child loses a tooth and places it beneath his or her pillow, the tooth fairy takes it and leaves a gift instead.