Little Girl on Swing

Origins of the Tooth Fairy Legend

The tooth fairy is a distinctively American tradition. Although many societies have little traditions to mark a child’s loss of baby teeth, the tooth fairy legend appears to have originated in early 20th century America. Many American parents and dentists still use the tooth fairy legend to teach children about oral health care.

Value of Baby Teeth in a Buyer’s Market

How much is a child’s milk tooth worth to the tooth fairy, exactly? Over the past decade, the price has typically varied between $1.50 and $2.50. Now, given that a child can expect to lose 20 teeth by the time all 32 adult teeth come in, he or she can expect a cumulative value of more or less $40 over the course of childhood.

To help parents in Aubrey, Texas compare the current value of children’s baby teeth to what they were when they themselves were children, Visa created a Tooth Fairy Calculator App. It uses demographic and geographic information to convert the amount from contemporary dollars into yesteryears.

Teaching Oral Care

Part of the value of the tooth fairy legend is that it can be used to impart dental care tips to kids, forming the basis of what will hopefully be lifelong brushing and flossing routines. There are printable notes and letters ‘from the tooth fairy’ available online, or energetic parents can easily design one themselves. Notes from the tooth fairy can be used to give kids oral care tips, like the importance of brushing at least twice a day.

Parents might also consider investing in a tooth-shaped container (usually also available online) to keep the tooth safe the night the tooth fairy is supposed to arrive.

Preparing for Contingency

Of course, a kid’s tooth can fall out at any time. What if it happens on the playground or while he or she is at a friend’s house? Or what if the tooth simply goes missing? There are a number of ways around such an eventuality. You might tell the child to write the tooth fairy a note explaining the circumstances and giving some idea of where the tooth fairy might look (the playground, etc.).

Or you could simply try explaining that even a magical being like the tooth fairy isn’t all-powerful and needs just a bit of time to add the child’s address to the nightly itinerary. Or you could have the tooth fairy leave an I.O.U. note!

Sometimes a tooth is lost early due to some unfortunate accident. Other times, a baby tooth that is due to fall out on its own won’t do so, and the dentist will need to perform a simple procedure. In these situations, it might be a good idea to have the tooth fairy leave the child a note commending him or her for bravery. This will help children overcome their anxiety about the dentist’s office and increase their knowledge of oral health care.

The origins of the tooth fairy legend remain a bit obscure. As previously noted, she is American. The earliest known reference to her appears to have been an 8-page booklet printed in 1927, though this appears to have developed out of earlier legends. Though recent, the tooth fairy appears to have always been more educational than commercial, unlike her cousins Santa and the Easter Bunny. Of all the mythological guardians of childhood health and happiness, she appears to be the most innocent, to have taught children the most, and to have done the most to promote the public good.

If you are looking to schedule your child for an appointment to check on the progression of their lost teeth, or are looking for any tooth fairy ideas, fill out the form below. Our team at Kidzania is ready to help answer questions and want to make sure your child has the best experience at our office.