Many a curious parent has asked their Edmonton dentist about the history of the tooth fairy around the time that their child begins losing their baby teeth. Unlike the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, the history of the tooth fairy is relatively new and not all that well-documented.
Though practiced in numerous English-speaking countries, the tradition of the tooth fairy is shrouded in mystery. The first ever printed mention of the tooth fairy occurred in 1908 in the Chicago Daily Tribune, in a "Household Hint" from Lillian Brown about persuading reluctant children to allow the removal of a loose baby tooth. The tooth fairy was again referenced in a 1927 children's play by Esther Watkins Arnold.
While the tooth fairy herself is hardly ancient, traditions surrounding the loss of baby teeth have been recorded in nearly every human culture on earth. Various cultures throughout history have either ritualistically hidden baby teeth, or disposed of them by methods such as tossing them into fires or burying them.
Perhaps the tradition most closely resembling that of the tooth fairy is the practice, documented in areas as far-flung from one another as Russia, Mexico, and New Zealand, of offering baby teeth to a mouse, rat, or other animal with strong teeth. This was done in the hopes that the child's adult teeth would also grow to be strong.
It seems that, somewhere along the line, these traditions of offering baby teeth to a small rodent were intertwined with the traditional European figure of a good and helpful fairy. It is probably also no coincidence that the tooth fairy increased in popularity around the same time as Disney began releasing films featuring helpful fairy characters, such "Cinderella," "Peter Pan," and "Pinocchio."
Should You Tell Your Kids About the Tooth Fairy?
Is it wrong to make children believe in imaginary characters such as the tooth fairy or Santa Clause? There doesn't seem to be any evidence for such an assertion. In fact, as Lillian Brown noted in 1908, the tooth fairy can help ease children through the rite of passage that is losing their baby teeth.
The tradition is often a source of comfort, providing children with something to look forward to during a time that can at first be seen painful and frightening. When surveyed, the majority of parents and of children who have learned that the tooth fairy isn't real report positive feelings towards the tradition of the tooth fairy.
If your child has started to lose their baby teeth, then it is a good idea to take them to an Edmonton dental clinic, such as one of the clinics of the Azarko Dental Group. The tooth fairy can help your child say goodbye to their baby teeth, and our Edmonton children's dentists can ensure that their adult teeth grow in healthy and strong.
Feel free to bring your child in to one of our two Edmonton dental clinic locations today:
14938 Stony Plain Rd.
Edmonton, AB T5P 3X8
969 James MowattTrail SW
Edmonton, AB T6W 1S4