Healthy Kids    

Happy National Tooth Fairy Day!

Everything you wanted to know about the Tooth Fairy

national tooth fairy day

That first loose tooth can cause anxiety for some children. Often, anxiety turns to excitement as children listen to tooth-loss stories exchanged among classmates and anticipate the reward the Tooth Fairy leaves behind.

While the exact origin of the enigmatic Tooth Fairy is steeped in mystery, historically the loss of baby teeth is an important rite of passage.

The earliest known written records regarding baby teeth date from northern Europe and describe a tann-fe, or tooth fee, in which money was paid for a baby tooth.

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In the Middle Ages, Europeans, fearing witches could curse their children if they acquired their baby teeth, buried the teeth in the ground.

The Vikings wore baby teeth as jewelry considering them good luck talismans in battle. Other cultures fed the teeth to animals believing the adult tooth would resemble the animal's powerful, strong teeth. 

Today, countries all over the world continue to mark the loss of baby teeth with various customs.

In Spain, France, Italy and Mexico, for example, the Tooth Fairy appears as a small white mouse or rat, symbolic because rodents have strong teeth that never stop growing.

In Sweden, the baby tooth is placed in a glass of water where it is mysteriously replaced overnight with coins. And, it is customary in much of the Middle East for baby teeth to be thrown towards the sun and in Asia, onto the roof. 

The Tooth Fairy as many of us know her, appeared in the early 1900s.

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What’s the going rate?

According to a survey conducted by VISA, the Tooth Fairy typically pays $1 per tooth although a larger payout has appeared under pillows for special teeth like the first tooth or a particularly pesky-to-pull tooth.

What does the Tooth Fairy do with those teeth?

Legend says that the Tooth Fairy tosses the teeth up to the sky and they become stars. Naturally many theories exist.

Whatever she does with them, with each tooth lost, adulthood gains another foothold on our kids. No wonder through the ages we've found ways to mark this stage in our kids' lives, which seems as fleeting as the Tooth Fairy herself. 

Freelance journalist, Christa Melnyk Hines, and her husband are the parents of two boys.