So you just lost or you’re getting ready to lose your first tooth. How exciting! You’ll be getting your adult teeth in sooner than you know and moving on up in the world. But first, there’s that one burning question you just have to know the answer to.
Is the tooth fairy real?
The Mystery of the Tooth Fairy
While I have never personally seen the tooth fairy, I can tell you that sprite is alive and well. I myself was visited by the tooth fairy a few times when I was a kid, and my children have gotten visits of their own, as well.
In my experience, the tooth fairy leaves something a little different almost every time. Sometimes it’s a little bit of money, other times it’s a note or maybe some other kind of small treat.
Here’s the thing, though, the tooth fairy prefers teeth that are in great shape. The tooth fairy isn’t going to be as generous for teeth that have a lot of cavities. That’s why it’s important to brush and floss your teeth every day and go to the dentist for teeth cleanings twice a year.
So, what does the tooth fairy do with those teeth, exactly? We may never know for certain, but there are plenty of theories out there. She might use them to make magical fairy dust, they could go towards making her castle, or maybe she’s just collecting them. What do you think the tooth fairy uses those teeth for?
Origins of the Tooth Fairy
It’s difficult to trace exactly when the tooth fairy came about or how. In the United States, the first time it showed up in the news was in a Chicago newspaper in the early 1900s. Her roots go back much further than that, though.
There are records written that date all the way back to right around the year 900 to the Norse people in Europe. There are texts that talk about something called the “tand-fe,” which translates to “tooth fee.”
The tand-fe describes children being left a small amount of money after losing their first tooth (sound familiar?). People in those countries had many superstitions surrounding teeth. They were thought to be valuable and bring good luck.
For the Parents
Ok parents, now that we have (hopefully) gotten far enough down the page that the kids have stopped reading, we can talk.
When you’ve got kids of your own, it’s a lot of fun to pass down traditions like the tooth fairy, just like your parents did for you when you were a kid. This one, in particular, is a great way to get your little ones to pay attention to their oral hygiene and develop good habits that can last them a lifetime.
Talking About the Tooth Fairy
It’s really up to you what to reward your child with when they lose a tooth. That’s the easy part. But eventually, they’re going to come to you and ask, “is the tooth fairy real?”
How you answer that is going to depend on their age. If they are ready to hear it, you can tell them what’s up. If they’re still a little young for that, your best bet is to let them guide the conversation.
Instead of trying to come up with an answer right off the cuff, go with something like, “well, what do you think?” That gives a chance for you to see how their imagination has run with the idea of the tooth fairy and can help you answer them.
The big thing here is to make sure you’re reinforcing the meaning behind the tooth fairy: the importance of healthy oral hygiene. Continuing the tradition of leaving behind a little treat of some kind for a recently lost tooth is a great reward for keeping those baby teeth from getting cavities before they fell out to make room for the grown-up teeth.
Don’t Stop Believing
The mystery surrounding the tooth fairy as kids go through this sort of rite of passage towards being young adults can be a really fun time for parents. Like many other things in life, believing is half the battle, so a little reward for a baby tooth can go a long way.
Seeing the wonder in the kids’ eyes and helping them learn how important brushing and flossing are magical moments in and of themselves, much less the magic of the tooth fairy herself. Enjoy it while it lasts. Those moments truly do come and go entirely too fast.