Practically everyone can remember instances from our childhood years when the Tooth Fairy traded coins for our precious baby teeth. It’s a popular practice for American families, and the Tooth Fairy is even a good narrative for parents to utilize when attempting to influence their children to take great care of their teeth. As a matter of fact, writer Vicki Lanksy found that children were much more concerned with maintaining great dental hygiene if their moms and dads convinced them that the Tooth Fairy paid a lot more for perfect teeth. However, did you know that the Tooth Fairy that we recognize is predominately unique to Americans? Furthermore—in contrast to Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny—the origins regarding this ritual are quite unknown.


The Tooth Fairy Consultant


Rosemary Wells, a professor from the Northwestern University Dental School, opted to conduct a bit of research on the strange inceptions of the Tooth Fairy. What she realized was that the Tooth Fairy was not as ancient as was traditionally believed. The oldest oral example of this fairy occurred around the turn of the 20th century, and the first image in print was in 1927. Wells moved ahead with her research for a long time and she even administered a nationwide inquiry that incorporated close to 2,000 families. Among the most significant of Wells’ results is the exhibition that she has opened that showcases all of her research and findings. And where is this museum? It’s inside of Wells’ Illinois home. Her business card even proclaims her as the official “Tooth Fairy Consultant.”


Around The Earth


Even though the idea of the pop culture Tooth Fairy has its origins in American society, the rituals regarding lost baby teeth vary from country to country. Kids living in Russia, New Zealand, France, and Mexico set their baby teeth beneath their pillow in the anticipation that a mouse or rat will swap it out for cash or sweets. The thought concerning this approach is that the children’s teeth will grow back as sturdy as a rat’s. Various cultures’ ideas of the Tooth Fairy include a rodent or mouse, yet it relies on the area; the location where the child lives also depends on whether they will keep the tooth under their pillow or if they keep it out somewhere for the mouse to snatch. The French named this character La Petite Souris, and the Spanish refer to it as Ratoncito Perez.


Other types of famous customs consist of sinking the lost tooth in a bottle of water or milk– and even wine– and setting it on the bedside table. Tannfe, the Norwegian tooth fairy, likes the teeth in clear water due to the fact that her old and weary eyes just cannot find the tooth anywhere else. Furthermore when the son or daughter awakes in the morning, a silver coin will be at the floor of the glass. For Irish kids, the tooth fairy is a young leprechaun referred to as Anna Bogle who accidentally lost her front tooth. She makes use of young children’s lost teeth to replace her lost teeth, and in exchange she leaves behind a polished gold coin. On the other hand, in Asian countries, boy or girls will pitch teeth lost from the lower jaw onto the roof of their home, and teeth lost from the upper jaw will be tossed into the space below their house. Usually, the daughter or sons will proclaim a wish for durable, healthy teeth to thrive in its place.


There are certain societies that approach the ritual of lost teeth with an air of caution. For example, in Austria, young children had been known to cover up their teeth in the environments surrounding their house. This was carried out to guard the young children given that Austrians believed that if a witch got a young child’s tooth, that child could come to be cursed. On the other hand, Viking soldiers believed their children’s teeth gave luck at the time of conflict, and they often made jewelry out of the teeth to wear to war.


Rational Attitudes To The Tooth Fairy


It can be justified that the practice of these various tooth fairy practices can aid children conquer the anxiety of losing teeth, and supply peace of mind during this all new event. Anthropologist Cindy Dell Clark has claimed that a kid being given cash in exchange for their lost tooth is the initial cross over toward their adult years as getting money during adulthood is an exercise in obligation and agency.


Rosemary Wells and Cindy Dell Clark are not the only ones who have been examining and exploring the effects of the tooth fairy. In 2013, Visa reported that the average amount given for a tooth in the America was $3.70. Visa’s senior director of global financial education Jason Alderman has stated: “It is due to a combination of things: one is a reflection of an improving economy, and that parents feel they can afford to be generous in small areas.”