Little girl dressed as the tooth fairy for family dentist in Red Deer

The Origins of the Tooth Fairy

Your Family Dentist in Red Deer Unravels the Fascinating Folklore

If you and your children have grown up in an environment that follows an Anglo-based religion or culture, chances are that you have fond memories of iconic, mythical beings such as the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. However, while the first two have fairly universal images and storylines, the latter has been interpreted differently by various countries and cultures across the world. As the legend goes, children are told to place the fallen baby tooth under their pillow while going to bed. They are given to believe that the Tooth Fairy will pay them a visit and leave behind some cash or tiny gifts in exchange for their tooth. In some households, children even write notes and letters to the Tooth Fairy and share a special bond with her for several years until all their baby teeth have fallen. 


The Tooth Fairy is a significant part of your child’s journey from baby teeth to permanent, adult teeth; hence, we at Parkland Mall Dental decided to dig deeper into this fascinating folklore and find out how it originated. The actual act reflects the centuries-old practice of not only disposing off the baby teeth, but also providing comfort to children through this significant physical transformation. The presence of the fairy acts as an incentive, as well as emotional support for your little ones, so that they do not fear the process of losing their primary teeth.


Interesting Facts About the Tooth Fairy 

Unlike several other folklore, the origins of the tooth fairy are not adequately documented. Intrigued by the idea of the Tooth Fairy, Rosemary Wells, a professor at the Northwestern University Dental School went on a career-defining quest of the origins of this folklore. During this project, Wells gained recognition as the world’s foremost expert on the Tooth Fairy, and also appeared on popular shows such as the Oprah Winfrey Show. Her extensive research culminated with an entire museum dedicated to this subject, run out of her home in Deerfield, Illinois. Here are some interesting facts about the Tooth Fairy lore:

  • She’s not even 100 years old!: The first mention of the Tooth Fairy appeared in an 8-page playlet for children, written by Esther Watkins in 1927.
  • Her magic trumps pain, discomfort and anxiety: Out of the close to 20 baby teeth that fall off, every child experiences at least one tooth that remains wiggly for long, needs to be tugged, or bleeds while falling off. The magical promise of getting a gift or cash in return for the fallen tooth gives your child something to look forward to, despite the discomfort or anxiety of the wiggly tooth.
  • She has many ‘avatars’: In addition to being depicted as a Disney-like fairy with wings and a wand, she is represented by a number of other creatures in different parts of the world. From beavers, cats and dogs to squirrels and mice, the Tooth Fairy has been embodied in many different forms. 
  • She is most popular as a mouse: The most popular depiction is in the form of a mouse. Spanish-speaking nations know Ratóncito Pérez, while French kids wait for La Petite Souris. Did you know that rodents continue to grow their teeth during their entire life span? Some anthropologists believe that this could be the reason for the mouse to be one of the most widely used symbols of the Tooth Fairy. It signifies transfer of luck or tooth growing traits to the child who has lost a tooth. 
  • Hers is Not the Only Ritual of Disposing off Baby Teeth: The disposal rituals vary greatly across countries and have been broadly categorized into 9 techniques that include, throwing the tooth into the sun, in a fire, between the legs, or over the roof of the house. Some traditions ask for the tooth to be buried or hidden in a tree or a wall where animals cannot get to it, while certain other cultures have a ritual of offering the tooth to some animal. Furthermore, you also have rituals in which the tooth is placed in a mouse hole near the stove or hearth, or even swallowed by the mother, child or animal.


Dentistry for All Ages with Your Family Dentist in Red Deer 

While your children may look forward to the Tooth Fairy’s visits, it is equally important to give them an early introduction to the real heroes who manage their dental health. 


If you are looking for comprehensive dental services that can cater to your entire family, look no further than your Red Deer family dentists at Parkland Mall Dental Centre. We offer a wide range of services, including teeth cleaning, general dentistry, and implants and tooth extractions. Our child-friendly general dentists are experienced in providing dental care for every member of your family including your little ones, from infancy to adulthood.

Call us at 403-342-1118 or contact us online to schedule your child’s dental checkup at Parkland Mall Dental Centre. We always welcome new dental patients of all ages!

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