Who is the Tooth Fairy, and where did she come from?
Nobody knows for sure *exactly* when the magical fairy began sneaking into bedrooms in the dead of night and swapping coins for baby teeth left under pillows. What we do know is that traditions surrounding the loss of baby teeth have been shared around the world for hundreds of years.
Some people buried the teeth so witches and evil spirits couldn’t use them for voodoo. The Vikings believed the teeth possessed powers that could strengthen and protect them in battle. Because of this, the Vikings would pay their children for their lost baby teeth and use them in jewelry they would wear for this protection.
Eventually, legend was told of a Tooth Mouse who went around stealing children’s teeth in the middle of the night. It is believed this story of the mouse evolved into the story of the Tooth Fairy, who we celebrate today!
The Tooth Fairy arrives when a child looses their first tooth. The first baby teeth to fall out are usually the very front teeth (central incisors) on either the top or bottom. The next teeth are usually the lateral incisors, top and bottom. This usually happen around the age of 6 or 7. That’s why when you walk into a first grade classroom you’ll see a lot of gaps in those kids’ smiles! Over the next several years you’ll see the baby canines and molars exfoliate, usually starting with the canines. By the age of 12, most children have lost their last baby tooth!
A fun, helpful activity for kids can be to print out and laminate a “Tooth Eruption Chart” from the American Dental Association website and cross off the baby teeth that fall out and circle the adult teeth that come in. Then you’ll know which ones still need to be wiggled out and which ones you’re still waiting on to come in!
You can get your own “Tooth Eruption Chart” here:
We can’t prove it, but it has been said, that the Tooth Fairy leaves a bigger prize for healthier teeth. One of our favorite ways to help children understand the importance of great dental hygiene is by reading about it! Here are are a few of our favorites: “The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist,” by Stan and Jan Berenstain,“Just Going to the Dentist” by Mercer Meyer, and “Throw your tooth on the roof: Tooth Traditions From Around The World,” by Selby B. Beeler.
Happy reading, and Happy National Tooth Fairy Day!