The Tooth Fairy, a magical being who collects lost baby teeth left under sleeping children’s pillows and leaves a reward in exchange, is a fun tradition that goes back for centuries in folklore and fairy tales and is found in many countries around the world.
The origin of the Tooth Fairy is a little murky, but teeth, and especially children’s teeth, have been considered with some mystical regard in a wide variety of cultures, including Europe, where the Tooth Fairy tradition is prevalent. Some cultures buried the lost teeth of children to keep them away from witches and prevent them from potentially being used in voodoo and spells. And it’s believed that the Vikings thought baby teeth would bring them good luck in battle, so they paid their children for their lost teeth and strung them on jewelry. Some think that perhaps that is the tradition’s earliest origin.
Apparently, some cultures have a different take on the tradition of honoring the lost tooth. In Spain, Mexico, and other Hispanic counties as well as in France, there is a tradition of a “Tooth Mouse” instead of a fairy. Some Spanish-speaking cultures give the Tooth Mouse the name “Ratoncito Pérez”, but it is also sometimes called simply “el Ratón de los Dientes” (“The Tooth Mouse”), and in French, “la Petite Sours” (“The Little Mouse”). The tradition is much the same as the Tooth Fairy, with the tooth placed under the pillow and exchanged for a gift or coins. Two different fairy tales from the 17th and 18th centuries (one French and one Spanish) feature such a character, and many consider these to be the origin of the modern incarnation of the mythical creature we know as the Tooth Fairy.
The Tooth Fairy practice is thought to help relieve any fear, stress, or worry children may experience over the loss of a tooth, which can be a painful and strange experience for a young child. The custom provides a nice distraction, and most children look forward to the little surprises the Tooth Fairy brings.
What do you think? Do any of our Mall of Georgia Dentistry patients have stories or anecdotes about the Tooth Fairy to share?