Exactly one week ago, February 28, was National Tooth Fairy Day, and—as Reno children’s and family dentists—Dr. William Wager and Dr. Brian Evans are always looking for new ways to teach little ones about the importance of healthy teeth and gums. Today, let’s take a look back at the history of the tooth fairy, and how to teach your child about quality dental health and hygiene.
The Origin of the Tooth Fairy
Since the beginning of the human race, people have lost their baby teeth and adult teeth have erupted in their place. While records of the rituals surrounding the loss of baby teeth don’t date back to the beginning of time, history shows that special ceremonies and traditions have accompanied the loss of baby teeth for at least a few hundred years.
The early Europeans buried children’s lost teeth to prevent witches and evil spirits from using them for voodoo. The Vikings, on the other hand, kept lost baby teeth around because they believed that children’s teeth had special powers and could help them fight in battle. In fact, Vikings would pay their children for the lost baby teeth and then string the teeth onto necklaces and other battle equipment.
The legend of the Tooth Fairy actually began as the legend of the Tooth Mouse who scampered around town stealing children’s teeth in the middle of the night. Over time, the Tooth Fairy replaced the mouse, leaving treasures under children’s pillows in exchange for their lost teeth. Today, most young children leave their lost teeth under their pillows at night in hopes that the Tooth Fairy will pay them a visit while they’re asleep.
Teaching Your Child about Healthy Teeth and Gums
When you think about it, teaching children about dental health can be tricky. On one hand, you want them to brush and floss their teeth and eat healthily to keep their teeth and smiles healthy for life. On the other hand, children look forward losing their baby teeth and replacing them with adult teeth. It can be a double-edged sword.
To effectively teach your child about proper dental health and hygiene, lead by example. Have your child brush his or her teeth when you brush yours, and don’t be afraid to step in to ensure that your child cleans his or her mouth thoroughly. Also, allow us to help. As Reno family dentists, it’s in our job description—and our name—to help children learn how to take care of their teeth and gums. In fact, we want your little one to smile for life just as much as you do.