The Tooth Fairy
Colgate.com | June 2020
Although many countries around the world have unique traditions to mark the loss of a child's baby teeth, the tooth fairy legend is believed to have originated in the United States in the early part of the 1900s. This custom has remained popular, and even today, many parents search for fun and creative ideas about how to use the tooth fairy story to celebrate the loss of a child's baby teeth.
It is difficult for anyone to comprehend what the tooth fairy would do with the teeth from all the children around the world. Some say that tooth fairies are building a giant castle for their queen from the cleanest and most well cared for teeth, while the substandard teeth are ground down for paving stones. This may be why the tooth fairy leaves more money for some teeth than others. Your tooth fairy letter can hint that if your child wants a bonus under her pillow, brushing thoroughly twice a day is a good way to earn it.
No matter what your family's preferred tooth fairy looks like, tooth fairies all leave behind a gift when they collect a tooth, and so all parents are faced with the problem of determining how much money to put under the pillow when the tiny tooth collector pays a visit.
Children generally begin to lose their baby teeth between the ages of 5 and 7. By the time a child's full set of 32 adult teeth come in, he will have lost 20 baby teeth. When a child loses his first tooth, parents may wish to set expectations regarding tooth fairy visits. Delta Dental conducts an annual tooth fairy poll, which tracks a sampling of tooth fairy payments. Over the last 10 years, the amount has vacillated between $1.50 and $2.50. The poll further indicates that the value of a tooth actually moves up and down in close relation to the U.S. economy.
Start a Tooth Fairy Tradition to Encourage Good Dental Habits
Creative tooth fairy ideas can also incorporate dental care education and establish good brushing habits. Reinforcing the importance of dental care routines by using notes written by the tooth fairy is a fun way to remind kids to brush and floss. Printable tooth fairy receipts and note cards are available online, or you can design your own using notepaper and glitter for fairy dust to make the experience seem even more authentic.
Tooth containers are another popular item associated with visits from the tooth fairy. Mini treasure chests are an option. Tooth-shaped pillows or monogrammed pillows with pockets to hold the lost tooth will help to avoid losing the important item before the tooth fairy arrives to collect it.
Unforeseen Circumstances Affecting Tooth Fairy Visits
Sometimes a child may lose a tooth and not even be aware that it has fallen out. In this case, your child can write a short note, with your help, to explain the situation to the tooth fairy and perhaps to suggest a location to search (school, playground, etc.). On extremely busy nights, the tooth fairy may not have cash on hand — especially when the tooth loss occurs right before bedtime — and will need to supply a child with an IOU. Explain to your child that lots of kids at that age lose teeth, and sometimes this happens on the same day. There are times when the tooth fairy forgets to visit or just doesn't make it to your house. A simple explanation with the promise of a reward the next night will usually suffice.
Tooth Fairy Ideas for Extraordinary Situations
Occasionally, a baby tooth is lost prematurely due to an accident or injury. In other situations, baby teeth refuse to come out on their own and need to be "wiggled" out at the dentist's office. These special cases call for extra care and attention from parents, as well as from the tooth fairy. An encouraging letter from the tooth fairy, accompanied by a treat, can be sent to praise the child's bravery at the dentist office. Reassuring a child who has been through a dental procedure helps to take away some of the fear and provides an opportunity to discuss the experience with your child at his or her level of understanding.
Losing a tooth is one of the great rites of passage during childhood, one that involves the magical transformation of their teeth into money or a small gift. The traditional idea of the tooth fairy involves the child placing his tooth under the pillow at night and awakening the next morning to find that the tooth fairy has left money in its place. However, there are also some outside-the-box ideas on how to be the tooth fairy that can make your child's experience even more memorable.
Consider Skipping the Cash
While an 8- or 9-year-old may be excited about money, a younger child will probably not understand the value of money and might be happier with a special treat. Depending on how extravagant you want to get, the tooth fairy could leave behind a book, a small toy, a healthy snack or even something like tickets to the zoo. Just keep in mind that whatever you do for the first tooth will set expectations for all the rest.
Make It a Total Experience
There are lots of other extras you can do to add to the mystery and magic of the tooth fairy experience. Think about getting a special tooth pillow with a pocket for the tooth. That way, the "tooth fairy" knows just where to find it without searching underneath your child's head. You can buy these or, if you're feeling crafty, make your own.
Another idea is to have the tooth fairy leave a note for your child. Use a special pen, put some effort into creative handwriting and then dust some glitter over the paper to create fairy dust. You might have the tooth fairy explain what is going to happen to the tooth and leave an encouraging message to your child to keep brushing.
Some kids are naturally skeptical. If you want to keep the mystery of the tooth fairy alive as long as possible, be sure not to write in your own handwriting when leaving a note from the fairy. You can print off a letter with a fancy font from your computer, or write your tooth fairy letters in very tiny (fairy-sized) block letters with a very fine-tipped pen, so your child can see it was written by someone much smaller than mom or dad.
A letter from the tooth fairy is a great way to encourage your child to maintain their oral health while extending the time of childhood fantasies as long as you can.