Happy Birthday to The Tooth Fairy

We are thrilled to say Happy Birthday to the Tooth Fairy, Today August 22.  West Vancouver Dental, a General Dentist in Vancouver, Washington, we are excited to thank you for all the many visits you make to the great children of our community.  We hope you have a wonderful day and it is filled with many wishes and dreams come true.

Dr. Michelle, knows a thing or two about family dentistry and children’s health. We get a lot of patients asking us how to care for children’s teeth.

Are your child’s baby teeth falling out?

Maybe the tooth fairy will soon be flying to your home. A lot of children enjoy the notion of the tooth fairy because it adds an element of wonder and surprise to losing their baby teeth.

Remember that for your child, losing a baby tooth is a rite of passage into the big kid world. In fact, they compare losing their teeth in class with other classmates stories. It becomes what they talk about all the time at school. It actually becomes a notion of “I’m a big kid now.”

But what about all of the stories going on in your home, and the tale of the tooth fairy? Do you ever wonder where the tooth fairy started, and why she comes to collect teeth and leave money? We tracked down the true history of the tooth fairy and why this fiction has inspired generations of hope and happiness to families across the world.

Who is Tooth Fairy?

The tooth fairy is a fantasy character for many children, just like the Easter Bunny or Santa Clause. Children never really see these figures but believe in them. The folklore unfolds that when a child loses a baby tooth, he or she places it beneath the bed or pillow, the tooth fairy visits while the child is sleeping. The “fairy” will replace the lost tooth with a small payment of some sort.

Where Does The Tooth Fairy Come From?

Although tracking down the origins of the tooth fairy can take the magic out of this exciting myth, we did a little research to uncover the real start of this mysterious fairy. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that witches could gain control over people if they had any piece of them – by gaining access to your hair, clothing or teeth they could in turn work their magic.

But the tooth fairy didn’t really enter the scene during the middle ages. In fact some of the rituals around tooth disposal weren’t quite as dark. Some parents would bury their children’s baby teeth in the garden so new adult teeth would grow in strong and straight.
Believe it or not Vikings believed that having a child’s tooth was good luck in battle, so they would often create jewelry from the teeth of children.
Generations of parents in old Europe would tell their children about the tooth fairy. The idea of having a fairy leave money in exchange for the beautiful baby tooth became a ritual children could look forward to. The tooth fairy took the element of fear out of loosing baby teeth. In essence the story helps ease the uneasiness of the unknown. Losing a tooth could be scary if a child does not understand the big picture. Allowing the tooth fairy to collect teeth and leave money is a nice way to soften the uneasiness.

When Should I Tell My Children the Truth?

Many parents ask us when should we tell our children about the tooth fairy? We always say you don’t need to tell them; the natural promotion of the fiction story will not usually hinder your trust with the child. In fact, the majority of children report positive outcomes. Upon learning the tooth fairy is not real, 75% of children reported liking the custom; 20% were neutral and 3% were not in favor and said they did not intend to continue the practice when they became parents.

Usually children start to question the myth around age 5-8. At this time they are wondering about other factitious characters such as Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny. Usually upon learning about those they put it together that perhaps the tooth fairy is a fable as well.
Whether you decide to celebrate the tooth fairy or not in your household, the idea of getting valuable money for your baby teeth is part of a childhood tradition that traces back to our ancient ancestors. And who doesn’t love a good story.

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