Are you looking for something to celebrate during the month of August? How about National Tooth Fairy Day! This annual celebration takes place each year on August 22nd. And while it may sound silly to commemorate the Tooth Fairy, this beloved childhood figure has played an important role in the history of oral health.
We all remember the Tooth Fairy from when we were children ourselves. Folklore tells us that whenever a child loses a baby tooth and places that tooth under his or her pillow at night, the Tooth Fairy will come to take the tooth and leave behind payment in exchange. And while the Tooth Fairy myth is alive and well not only here in the US, but in many countries around the world, this iconic childhood figure is nothing new – in fact, just the opposite. The tradition of a child being paid for a lost tooth dates all the way back to the year 1200 in Northern Europe when other myths and folklore developed involving children’s lost baby teeth. Vikings, for example, believed that children’s teeth brought them victory in battles, so they often strung them around their necks. This superstition made children’s teeth quite valuable, which is probably why Vikings paid children for their teeth. In the Middle Ages, people believed that a witch who possessed a child’s lost tooth could also possess that child, so the practice of burning children’s teeth became common during that time period.
The first mention of the modern Tooth Fairy is believed to date back to 1908 in an article from the Chicago Daily Tribune, in which the author instructs children to leave their lost teeth under their pillows at night in order to receive a small gift in return. At the time, many parents left behind a small toy in exchange for the tooth. But as the 20th century progressed, it became more and more common to leave a small amount of money for the teeth.
The Tooth Fairy has served us well throughout the years. Not only has the mythical figure brought delight to little children; it also gives parents the opportunity to teach their children about the importance of good oral health. When your little one loses a tooth, you can not only introduce him or her to the notion of the Tooth Fairy, but also teach them that their baby teeth will be replaced by permanent teeth – and that those teeth are meant to last a lifetime.
In this day and age, don’t we all need a reason to celebrate? August is the perfect month to celebrate the Tooth Fairy and educate your children about the importance of maintaining healthy teeth and gums.