There are many colorful stories about the origin and history of the tooth fairy, but one that is particularly interesting relates to history in Europe hundreds of years ago. During that period, it was a common practice that when children starting losing their primary (baby) teeth between the ages of 5 to 7, for parents to take the teeth and bury them in the ground close to their homes. The logic behind this was that a brand new tooth would then grow in its place.
Later on as people of different cultures stated to migrate to the United States, they brought their stories and folklore with them. Since a lot of these people were moving into urban areas, there may have been less open land in towns and cities. These new immigrants compromised by placing teeth in gardens, planters and flowerpots— things found in the home. As time went on, the teeth that fell out were placed under children’s pillows and the parents switched the teeth for money usually after the children fell asleep.
Even the Vikings had a ritual called “tooth fee” whereby a small gift was given to a child upon loss of a tooth. The curious children always asked what happened to their old teeth. Since children love to hear stories, parents came to tell the story of the tooth fairy. What better “fairytale”, than one of an actual good, loving fairy, who supports this natural growth process.
The Tooth Fairy became widely popular from the 1950s onward, and appeared children's books, television cartoons, jokes, etc. At this point she even became a spokeswoman for good oral health—focusing on children's dental hygiene. Parents enthusiastically bought the concept of the Tooth Fairy into family life. The 1980s saw the commercialization and merchandising of the Tooth Fairy, with special pillows, dolls, banks, etc., which we still see today. Children for centuries have come to love this story, belief and the token gift they receive
Park View's Point of View
At Park View Pediatric Dentistry, we believe that any idea, story or devise that promotes a positive focus on teeth and oral hygiene is beneficial. Losing teeth is a natural growth process and we support the loving, generous tooth fairy cheering that on. However, some parents may opt for their own story or unique way of having their children deal with loosing teeth. As long as the approach is positive and supportive, we are all for that as well.
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Park View Pediatric Dentistry