Our dental staff at Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas in Irving, Texas would love to share the tale of the tooth fairy with you. The tooth fairy has taken America with pride and stride. Did you know that originally, the tooth fairy went looking on the ground for your teeth, not underneath your pillow? Way back when, in early Europe, burying or burning baby teeth was a precaution taken against witches because they believed that if a witch got a hold of one of your teeth, they could have complete power over you.
Also, children were taught to burn their teeth to have a peaceful afterlife. Many believed that if a tooth wasn’t cremated, the person would be doomed to spend eternity looking for their teeth. The Vikings believed baby teeth brought good luck in battle, so, many warriors had necklaces made of children’s fallen out teeth. Interesting, no?
Latin culture dictated that the tooth fairy was not a fairy at all, but a mouse known as Raton Perez. This little guy used to take teeth from underneath children’s pillows and leave money. Now, after the early 1900s, Americans began the tooth fairy tradition that was endorsed by the Walt Disney fairy characters.
For many children, the loss of their teeth can be traumatic – understandably, literally, a part of your body falls out. So, the tooth fairy is thought to be an American cross-pollination of two preexisting figures: the mouse that sneaks into a child’s bedroom to exchange teeth for cash and the general good fairy from Europe. During the rise of the tooth fairy, Disney was also releasing animated films like Pinocchio and Cinderella, both of which feature a maternal fairy with the power to make wishes come true.
Additionally, pop culture has helped solidify the tooth fairy in the mainstream via children’s books, specialized pillows with a tooth-holding pocket, and television film series. Arnold van Gennep’s book created three stages in the rite of passage of children –separation: the tooth falls out and the child leaves his or her tooth under their pillow; transition: the gap in teeth, the child goes to sleep; and incorporation: the new tooth grows in and the child wakes up to a gift of money. Lastly, the tooth fairy process allows a child to enter adulthood with the exchange of teeth for cash.
Unlike the difficulties of exposing the truth to their children about other mythological stories, the tooth fairy has a solid 97% approval rate by parents. Researchers at Visa has found that American parents are spending an average of $3.75 per tooth! Hence, the tooth fairy is making America richer in many ways, starting at a young age with milk teeth.
The dentists at Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas in Irving, Texas are here for all your dental needs, whether fact or fiction. For any concerns or questions, or if you want to schedule an appointment, contact us today.