Although cultures around the world have traditions for marking a child’s lost tooth, the tooth fairy is a relatively recent and specifically American myth. Various peoples from Asia to Central America have a practice of leaving a lost tooth as an offering for some kind of animal in exchange for a healthy new one. Historians believe the American tooth fairy may have been inspired by this tradition, combined with European folklore about good fairies giving gifts or granting wishes.
What’s the point of the tooth fairy?
Baby teeth are a unique commodity in that supply and demand are always, somehow, perfectly balanced; the tooth fairy buys exactly as many as are available. Parents have come up with all sorts of explanations over the years for what she does with them. As you might expect from a children’s story about deciduous body parts, these accounts are a strange mix of whimsical and grotesque.
Expert recommendations. A lot of parents like to celebrate a first lost tooth with little toys or gifts instead of money, as their own tooth fairy traditions. Maybe a LEGO or temporary tattoos. Another option for that special first tooth is this personalized wooden tooth fairy box. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, since kids can use it for the rest of those baby teeth that will be coming out.
If you can handle the glitter clean-up, some parents like to sprinkle just a wee bit of glitter around the money or gift that’s left under your child’s pillow as proof that she’s been there to visit. Magical. Another option is to spray glitter on a coin or bill itself. We’ve even heard about trails of glitter leading up to a child’s bedroom door, with teeny footprints in them–just about the size of a Barbie shoe, coincidentally. Just be sure you don’t have wall-to-wall carpeting for that one.
Creative tooth fairy ideas can also incorporate dental care education and establish good brushing habits. Reinforcing the importance of dental care routines by using notes written by the tooth fairy is a fun way to remind kids to brush and floss. Printable tooth fairy receipts and note cards are available online, or you can design your own using notepaper and glitter for fairy dust to make the experience seem even more authentic.
Tooth containers are another popular item associated with visits from the tooth fairy. Mini treasure chests are an option. Tooth-shaped pillows or monogrammed pillows with pockets to hold the lost tooth will help to avoid losing the important item before the tooth fairy arrives to collect it.