February 28th is National Tooth Fairy Day—a fitting end to National Children’s Dental Health Month (February).
The Tooth Fairy, who may go by other names in other countries, leaves a payment or present in exchange for a baby tooth that’s been placed under your child’s pillow (or in some cases, another specially designated location). No one seems to agree on what The Tooth Fairy looks like. Some go for the Tinkerbelle style fairy with wings, others say The Tooth Fairy could appear as a man or as an animal or even as an imaginary creature such as a dragon.
The origin of The Tooth Fairy isn’t very clear but some sources trace it back to a 1908 "Household Hints" item in the Chicago Daily Tribune:
Many a refractory child will allow a loose tooth to be removed if he knows about the Tooth Fairy. If he takes his little tooth and puts it under the pillow when he goes to bed the Tooth Fairy will come in the night and take it away, and in its place will leave some little gift. It is a nice plan for mothers to visit the 5 cent counter and lay in a supply of articles to be used on such occasions. Lillian Brown." (1)
Lately, there’s been some discussion about whether we should promote belief in The Tooth Fairy. Some argue that children will feel that they’ve been lied to when they discover that The Tooth Fairy isn’t what they were told he/she was. Others feel that it’s a way to comfort children who may be upset or worried about losing teeth. And some parents even draw comfort from the fact that their children believe in The Tooth Fairy because it shows they still have some babyish qualities even though they are growing up.
If you do choose to continue The Tooth Fairy tradition, you can also impart good dental habits as part of the routine. For example, The Tooth Fairy could leave more for a perfect tooth than for one that has dental decay or a cavity or filling. The Tooth Fairy could also leave a short note praising how well your child takes care of his or her teeth to reinforce good brushing habits and seeing the dentist.
Whether you choose to continue The Tooth Fairy tradition in your family is up to you. (If you’re not going to, you may want to give your dentist a head’s up so he or she doesn’t ask your child about The Tooth Fairy during a dental visit.)
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who sees children and adults in her office located at 1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH 44053. Call 440-960-1940 to reserve your time. You can also find us online at www.drjrobb.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DrJenniferRobb