eCavity - Dental information

Tooth Fairy

Children often will lose their first baby tooth between the age of 5 and 7 years. Since the early 1900's, children have been placing their lost teeth under their pillow in hopes that the tooth fairy will leave money in place of the tooth. Many cultures have their own tooth fairy rituals, ranging from placing fallen teeth in trees, burning teeth, throwing it at the sun and even having an adult swallow the tooth. Vikings had their own tradition which was called "tooth fee". A small gift would be given to any child when the child's first tooth appeared.

Many customs surround baby teeth and the tooth fairy. In Austria, baby teeth are made into pendants, and key rings. A superstitious belief in Austria, Korea, and Japan, is that these fallen baby teeth will bring good luck and good health if the upper teeth are thrown under the house, while the lower teeth get thrown over the roof. English tradition calls for children to burn their own fallen teeth, while in France a child will place their tooth under their pillow and the tooth fairy will come in the night to place a small toy under their pillow. In Mexico and Spain, when a baby tooth is left under a pillow, it's a mouse and not the tooth fairy that visits, stealing the tooth and leaving small change in its place. While in Italy, the baby tooth is a keepsake and no tooth fairy exists to their knowledge.

Since many countries have the custom of the tooth fairy, there is merchandise you can purchase to further this custom. From intricate paintings of the tooth fairy to tooth fairy pillow holders that include a small pocket to place your fallen tooth in, these tooth fairy gifts are unique and fun. Tooth fairy letters are another option. Many households in the United States now place a personalized letter to the child under their pillow to replace the missing tooth. These letters will often tell the child how to take better care of their teeth and sometimes include a new toothbrush. No matter your beliefs, the tooth fairy seems to be here to stay.