Have you ever stopped to think about the origin of the Tooth Fairy? Most parents continue the tooth fairy tradition without question. But you may be surprised to know that she has a long and deep history rooted in several traditions around the world.
Hundreds of years ago, Europeans believed that a witch could gain control over you if she obtained a part of your body. Out of fear, parents threw their children’s baby teeth in the fire as quickly as possible.
Over the following years, as superstitions around witches wore off, parents would choose to bury the tooth instead; in hopes that burying the tooth would spare the child from experiencing hardships in their adult life. Other cultures believed that if their children’s baby teeth were buried in the garden, it would encourage healthy adult teeth to grow in their place.
It wasn’t until the 18th-century French fairy tale, La Bonne Petite Souris was publicized, that putting baby teeth under a child’s pillow became a tradition. The story goes, a bad king kept a good queen imprisoned and her only hope of escaping was help from a friendly mouse. To the queen’s surprise, the mouse was actually a fairy in disguise! The fairy freed the queen and knocked out the king’s teeth for revenge. She then hid the teeth under the king’s pillow before calling the guards on him.
In the last few hundred years, La Bonne Petite Souris gained worldwide popularity and has been changed slightly to suit the individual differences of each culture. In North America, the Tooth Fairy leaves money under the child’s pillow in exchange for lost tooth. It’s believed that this practice began to teach children about monetization and trade.
Unfortunately, by the age of five or six, when most children lose their teeth, they are already skeptical of mystical creatures. Especially ones that sneak into their rooms at night and take teeth from under their pillow without them noticing!
Despite this, there are interesting ways that parents can keep the Tooth Fairy tradition going for as long as your children would like. Here are a few ideas:
1. Leave a small gift to reinforce oral hygiene, such as toothpaste or a new toothbrush.
2. Leave a special note or certificate under your child’s pillow, along with money to commemorate the occasion.
3. Sprinkle sparkles or feathers around your child’s room as proof the Tooth Fairy stopped by.
4. If you’re worried you child might see the Tooth Fairy when retrieving the tooth, reserve a special jar of the box for missing teeth next to their bed.
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