Do you remember what it was like to lose your first tooth as a kid? Did you know it was coming? Did you spend days wiggling and jiggling it? Did you tie a string around it and pull it? Or maybe it came out as you bit into a slice of pizza?
And what about the tooth fairy? Were you so excited?
You might be wondering what this trip down memory lane is all about. Well, August 22 is National Tooth Fairy Day! Let’s learn about the history behind the tradition and some ideas for celebrating with your family.
The Origins of the Tooth Fairy
At first, it might seem a little hard to believe that a bunch of hefty, chain mail-wearing, axe-wielding Vikings created the adorable Tooth Fairy that American kids love and adore today. But apparently, the Vikings considered teeth good luck. They even liked to wear teeth necklaces in battle. Teeth were so important they would pay their children for the baby teeth they lost—which is how they were credited for the Tooth Fairy idea.
But the first written American reference was in a 1908 Chicago Tribune article. The author gives parents the “magical” idea of encouraging their kids to pull their “loose milk teeth.” Then, the author assures them that even the most stubborn child will leave their tooth under their pillow at bedtime if they know about the Tooth Fairy who will come, take it and, “in its place will leave some little gift.”
What’s the Going Rate for a Tooth These Days?
Looking back again, do you remember how much money the Tooth Fairy left under your pillow? Maybe just some change, huh?
According to a USA Today article, 46% of parents said the amount of cash they have on hand determines how much they give their kids. Another 31% of parents said their child’s age determines the tooth’s value. In Illinois, children received an average of $3.41 per tooth from the Tooth Fairy.
Children generally lose their first baby tooth around age 6, and the last baby tooth usually falls out somewhere between ages 10 and 12.
More than tradition, learning about the Tooth Fairy is also the perfect time to help kids learn more about taking care of their teeth, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Among its free printables and other resources, the ADA offers ideas for families preparing to welcome the Tooth Fairy, which includes creating receipts, scrapbooks and more.
Tooth Fairy Gift Ideas
Some parents may not be thrilled about the Tooth Fairy if their kids complain that their friends get more money than them. Or, if you have to remember to do it. By the time your kids go to bed and your tasks are complete, it can easily slip your mind.
If leaving money under your child’s pillow doesn’t appeal to you, leave a different item, such as a book. America’s Tooth Fairy, a nonprofit organization that helps ensure children have access to dental care, offers more advice. Whether you’re cash-strapped or simply looking for cash alternatives, with their ideas for making a Tooth Fairy visit magical you can:
- Teach your child the importance of good oral health with a new toothbrush.
- Download the organization’s free activity sheets, print and slip them with a note under your child’s pillow.
- Leave your child a sweet, sugar-free treat with a reminder to brush for at least two minutes after eating sweets.
We hope National Tooth Fairy Day is a magical time for you and your family!