Most Americans are familiar with the idea of the “tooth fairy.” As a tradition that many of today’s parents and grandparents grew up with, “she” has become part of children’s experiences, across the U.S. The tooth fairy is very much an American tradition dating to the early part of the 20th Century, although cultures around the world have their own (and different) traditions when it comes to what to do with baby teeth.
Why Kids Want to Believe in the Tooth Fairy
Losing baby teeth, especially the first couple of times can be scary and painful for children. Sharing the tooth fairy story with kids is a way for parents to help reassure children that the loss of their teeth is a normal and natural part of growing.
The reward for giving baby teeth to the tooth fairy is also an incentive that makes kids more accepting of losing their teeth. Traditionally, the tooth fairy leaves a reward in exchange for the tooth. Most parents leave between one dollar and five dollars per tooth, although some parents choose to leave a small toy or trinket rather than leaving cash.
Why Parents Introduce the Tooth Fairy to Kids
As previously mentioned, many parents today grew up with the tooth fairy tradition. Often, there’s not even a question about whether or not to pass that tradition on to their children. In households where parents are ambivalent about introducing the tooth fairy before their child has lost his or her first tooth, peer pressure may play a role. Kids will likely have heard about the tooth fairy already from classmates and neighborhood friends.
Some parents choose to use the tooth fairy as leverage, to coax better behavior from their children in between lost teeth. If a child thinks that the reward he or she will receive is partially dependent on taking good care of their teeth and listening to their parents, the tooth fairy may be a useful parenting tool.
Other parents only want to perpetuate a sense of magic and wonder with their children while they are still young enough to believe such things, as a magical fairy paying for lost teeth is possible.
Rebooting the Tooth Fairy for More Fun and Better Oral Hygiene
For parents looking for fun ways to make the tooth fairy tradition more special in their households, here are some ideas other parents use:
- Leave notes or letters. Some parents like to write a special note or letter to their child from the tooth fairy. If your child isn’t very diligent about brushing his or her teeth, a little nudge from the tooth fairy might help improve that habit.
- Leave a receipt. Look for designs online or create your own
- Create fairy dollars. Instead of, or in addition to leaving real cold, hard cash in exchange for teeth, some parents choose to give eye-catching fairy currency. Glitter spray can help make the tooth fairy’s offering sparkle.
- Use a punch card. Creating a punch card or some other way for your child to keep track of his or her 20 baby teeth can be a fun way to mark the occasion.
- Pay more for “good” teeth. Some parents try to encourage their children to take better care of their teeth by explaining that the tooth fairy pays more for teeth that have been well taken care of than teeth with tooth decay.
- Leave “evidence” of the tooth fairy’s visit. For children who want to believe in the magical fairy, leaving glitter “footprints” on a windowsill or other surface can do the trick.
Help Your Child Establish a Lifetime of Good Habits by Sticking to a Schedule for Cleanings and Exams
While the tooth fairy may not be real, your child’s dentist is. By scheduling appointments and making dentist office visits a routine part of your child’s life, you’ll be establishing good habits that will last them their entire lifetimes.
Williams & Daily Dental is a family and cosmetic dentist located in North Raleigh, NC with a team of dedicated dentists enthusiastic in their commitment to their patients. Contact Williams & Daily at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.