Whimsical and bursting with toothy magic, the Tooth Fairy is a beloved childhood character. Not only does she ‘tick’ all the mysterious boxes: legendary, mythical and born out of folklore, the Tooth Fairy rarely fails to deliver!
Like all good stories, the Tooth Fairy is the perfect tale to pass on to your little ones. Then, you too get to experience the joy and wonder as your child finds a small treasure under their pillow.
We’ve all had at least a visit or two from the Tooth Fairy, a mythical spirit whom has been around since at least the Middle Ages, therefore it comes as no surprise that there are ‘days’ dedicated to celebrate the Tooth Fairy itself, and one of those ‘days’ happens to fall on February 28th!
In light of National Tooth Fairy Day, Brush-Baby have put together a guide for parents for everything you need to know about the special event, including what to do if the Tooth Fairy forgets to visit!
Where did the Tooth Fairy story come from?
Ok, before we get started, you need to know where the legend of the Tooth Fairy came from. Trust us; it will help you to re-tell the captivating story!
Unlike Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy is far more mysterious in origin. Interestingly, she’s a relatively recent phenomenon in comparison. Back in the 1990s, folklorists Rosemary Wells and Tad Tuleja uncovered some surprising facts:
- British tradition speaks of ‘fairy coins’ - these were given to servant girls as they slept, but had nothing to do with teeth!
- Irish folklore speaks of fairy ‘changelings’ - as children slept, teeth were placed nearby to ward off evil spirits!
- Venetians speak of a Santa Claus character called ‘Befana’ - this one is closest to the Tooth Fairy we know and love. He left presents or coins for children who had lost a tooth.
- 19th Century France - a tradition emerged were the Virgin Mary exchanged a coin or present for a tooth left under a child’s pillow. We’re definitely hitting the mark!
Then, there’s the other French story where a bad king imprisons a good queen. She seeks help from a tiny mouse to help her escape. The mouse turns out to be an incredibly helpful fairy who frees the queen after knocking out the king’s teeth. Later, the fairy hides teeth beneath the king’s pillow, leading to his untimely death. Possibly, not the best bedtime story!
What’s more surprising is that the Tooth Fairy’s legend really took off post-WWII and was made popular in American folklore. Now the ‘leading expert’ in dental health, the Tooth Fairy has driven home a hard bargain over the years!
Introducing the Tooth Fairy
Children will have mixed emotions about the idea of the Tooth Fairy – some will be excited while others may be scared. Explain that the Tooth Fairy is a friend and will leave behind a present as a sign of good luck.
If your child doesn’t like the idea of the Tooth Fairy, don’t force the ‘visit’. You can create your own mythical creature based on what your child likes, such as a superhero, or simply reward your child with a treat for their bravery.
Planning the Tooth Fairy’s first visit
Traditionally, the child’s lost tooth is left under their pillow, but some children might like to leave it somewhere else, such as a trinket box. Another common place to leave the tooth is in a glass of water and parents can tell the child that the Tooth Fairy jumped in and swam down to get it! For novelty, you can sprinkle trails of glitter in the child’s bedroom and on the window sill to show signs of the Tooth Fairy’s visit.
Let the fun begin!
My little girl loves a scavenger hunt. It’s the perfect rainy afternoon adventure around our home, and when the sun is out, it’s even better out in the wild! So how does this link to the Tooth Fairy? Well, when it comes to good oral hygiene, nothing motivates my daughter more than feeling like she has achieved something.
Getting to tick off each of her findings or activities she has completed from her list is literally the best part of her day! Catching on yet?
To get my little one excited about toothbrushing, there are a few things she has to complete along the way:
- Pick her favourite song - usually Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, which by some luck lasts for two minutes! Tick!
- Be prepared to boogie - again, that song comes in handy!
- Pick up her toothbrush - simple!
- Let me dab on a pea-sized amount* of toothpaste - usually Brush Baby’s Kids Tutti Fruiti Toothpaste (*pea-sized for over 3s and a smear for under 3s)
- Let the brushing commence - this usually involves some extra encouragement from me. You will hear the phrases “brush, brush, brush your teeth,” “find those corners, find that tongue,” and “in the front, in the back, all around and go again!”
- Spit and rinse
- Smile in the mirror - “Are those teeth sparkly enough for the Tooth Fairy?”
Last but not least, she will then earn a sticker. Happy child, happy Tooth Fairy, Happy me! Job done!
Leave a trail for the Tooth Fairy
What better way to get your little ones involved than to set up a Tooth Fairy trail. They can leave a set of clues for her to follow like their toothbrush, written words like ‘tooth’, ’smile’ & ‘pillow.’
Leave the final clue under your child’s bedroom lamp. Think of it as a ‘statement piece!’
What do you do with the teeth?
Your child is likely to ask questions about where the teeth go or what happens to them next and parents can make up stories, for example, the fairies use them to make fairy dust. Some parents like to store them until the child is older, in specially designed containers for memorabilia.
Choose the amount of money to give
It’s common to give different amounts of money to your children for different teeth, for example, increasing the amount for lost molars as they are larger, but remember that your children have a lot of teeth to lose Therefore don’t start off too high!
What to do if the Tooth Fairy forgets?
It’s common to forget to play the role of Tooth Fairy at least once, resulting in a disappointed child. Inventing a ‘twist’ to add to your Tooth Fairy story can help resolve their tears. Get your child to write a letter to the Tooth Fairy to leave under their pillow, explaining that they are upset, or leave the money under a different pillow and say the Tooth Fairy must’ve got confused! You could even leave an apology note written from the Tooth Fairy explaining that they were on holiday!