Out of all the jobs I’ve had, Tooth Fairy has been the hardest. — Sarcastic Mommy (@sarcasticmommy4) November 2, 2015
Whether we’re amazed at the money left under our childhood pillows, or exhausted from trying to sneak a couple of dollars beneath our children’s heads while they sleep, there are few things more magical–or stressful–than the tooth fairy. But where does the tooth fairy come from? And we don’t mean “a tired parent trying to stay awake until after their kid falls asleep.” We mean, “Why do we trade our kid’s baby teeth for money?”
It seems strange when you talk about it like that, doesn’t it? But surprisingly, the tooth fairy comes from a long line of tradition, all the way back to medieval Europe– and maybe even before!
Where does the Tooth Fairy come from?
There’s a tradition mentioned in sources as old as the traditional Scandinavian epic stories known as the “Eddas.” In the Eddas, there is some mention of a tand-fé, or a tooth-fee. When a child lost their first tooth, they were paid a small amount of money–very similar to our modern-day tradition of slipping money under our children’s pillows! Of course, the ancient Scandinavians had some different ideas about the teeth. Instead of disposing of them, the Norse and Icelandic warriors often wore them as good luck charms. Talk about a fashion statement!
Nowadays, we take a different perspective on tooth traditions. In English speaking countries, the tradition is surprisingly ubiquitous– almost everyone has the tooth fairy. It seems, though, that nobody can quite agree on what the “tooth fairy” looks like. According to a survey done in the nineties, most believe that the tooth fairy is female. But it seems like the appearance of the tooth fairy is unimportant. As long as the tooth fairy leaves money, then most people surveyed seem not to care what they look like!
But how much should you tell the Tooth Fairy to give?
It’s the question in every parent’s minds. Answers differ from source to source about how much money the tooth fairy routinely gives. But according to a Visa survey from 2013, the price has risen steadily since the turn of the century. From around $2.60 in 2011, at the time of the survey the average ‘gift’ the Tooth Fairy left rose to $3.70. More than a dollar in two years!
No matter what the price your child expects the Tooth Fairy to give, proper dental care for baby teeth is essential! Early childhood is a great time to foster proper dental hygiene habits, including brushing twice a day and flossing regularly. If you have any questions a
bout the progression of your child’s mouth, please contact us. For more information on early childhood dental development, stay tuned to Dr. Matthews dental blog!