Happy Tooth Fairy Day!
Santa and the Easter Bunny have their own holidays. Why shouldn’t the Tooth Fairy?
This mystical guardian of children’s teeth is one of the symbols of good oral health. She sneaks in at night, takes children’s teeth and leaves money — the current US average is about $3.17 — teaching them from a very young age that their teeth are, quite literally, very valuable.
But where did she come from? And why does she protect children’s teeth?
The Tooth Fairy Through the Ages
Funnily enough, the earliest historical records on the subject aren’t of a tooth fairy. They’re of a tooth fee.
The early Norse Eddas
detail the “tand-fe”, a price paid to a child when they lost their first tooth. These teeth were said to bring good luck in battle, so warriors would loop strings of children’s teeth (presumably their own) around their necks to help protect them as they went raiding in their long-ships.
In the Middle Ages, particularly in England, baby teeth were thought to have another kind of mystic power. People would hide or burn their teeth to keep them out of the hands of witches. It was said that if a witch got hold of even the smallest part of your body, she would have power over you.
Some versions of the Tooth Fairy story say that she started taking children’s teeth to protect them from people who would use them to harm kids. Where the money is coming from is another question entirely, although in 2010, Forbes featured here on their “Fictional 15
” richest people in the world, claiming she received a grant from none other than Santa Claus himself.
Not All Countries Have a Tooth Fairy
Not all countries have a tooth fairy, of course. In Italy, France, Belgium, and much of the Spanish speaking world, teeth are collected by a small mouse named Topolino, La Petite Souris, or Raton Perez
Children in the Middle East throw their baby teeth up into the sun. Asian children will also throw the baby teeth up in the air if it came from the lower jaw. If it came from the top, however, they’ll throw it straight into the ground to wish for their adult teeth to grow in straight and strong.
Teaching Oral Health with the Tooth Fairy
is gentle on young mouths and can help with far more than just bad breath. It helps build strong gums and fights cavities, so their smiles will last a long time. Maybe the Tooth Fairy could leave some under the pillow the next time your child loses a tooth, so they realize what a gift good oral health is?
Along with the money, of course.
Plus, it has a purple gorilla on the front. What kid doesn’t love a purple gorilla? We’ve heard a story that the purple gorilla is actually the Tooth Fairy’s favorite pet! He was living all alone in the jungle when the tooth fairy found him after a long day picking up some teeth.
She had one last tooth to pick up, but it was at the top of a tall building, and her little wings were tired from flying all day. So the purple gorilla offered to carry her. She rode on his back as he climbed up the building and took that last child’s tooth. All he wanted in return? Grapes! Now he lives with her at her castle (with Raton Perez as well).
Happy Tooth Fairy Day!