The Tooth Fairy Tradition

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Did you grow up exchanging your baby teeth for coins or gifts with a mysterious entity called “The Tooth Fairy”? If so, you may be curious to know exactly how the tooth fairy tradition came about.

Losing teeth has been the focus of myth for thousands of years. Vikings used children’s teeth as good luck charms in battle. In Medieval Northern Europe, parents paid a child who lost their first tooth, referring to the custom as tand-fé, meaning “tooth fee.” In Russia, Spain and some Asian countries, the tooth fairy was a mouse who would quietly remove their teeth while children slept.

It’s hard to say when the tooth fairy tradition itself came into being, but we do know it was fairly recent. The earliest identified written reference to the tooth fairy was a 1908 Chicago Tribune article that suggested leaving gifts from the tooth fairy for children who were willing to allow a loose tooth to be removed.

The tooth fairy’s imagined facade varies according to its source. Many picture her like Tinkerbell, but others report a bunny rabbit, a mouse, a pot-bellied man, a flying ballerina, or even – and DentalWorks especially enjoys this one – a dental hygienist!

Mothers usually report that their children are comforted in their knowledge that the tooth fairy will reward them for the pain of losing a tooth. They themselves are comforted that their children “believe” – a sign they are not growing up too fast. Most children find out that the tooth fairy is a myth between ages 5 and 7, and upon doing so, they still like the custom.

Does your youngster need some tender loving dental care? Simply call one of our offices to set a time to see one of our dentists and our professional team in Athens or Tyler, Texas. We’re excited to meet with you to get your best smile today!