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If you grew up in Western Culture with fairly traditional parents, chances are the tooth fairy left money under your pillow in exchange for your baby teeth. But where did the tooth fairy come from?

Losing teeth has been the subject of myth for many years. Vikings used children’s teeth to bring them good luck in battle. In Russia, Spain, and some Asian countries, the tooth fairy was a mouse who would enter children’s rooms and remove their teeth. In Medieval Northern Europe, parents paid a child who lost their first tooth, calling the tradition tand-fé, meaning “tooth fee.”

It’s difficult to say exactly when the tooth fairy tradition as we know it came into being, but it is a fairly recent custom. The earliest known written reference to the tooth fairy was a 1908 Chicago Tribune article that recommended leaving gifts from the tooth fairy for children who were willing to allow a loose tooth to be removed.

The tooth fairy’s supposed appearance varies according to its source. Most envision her like Tinkerbell, but others report a bunny rabbit or mouse, a pot-bellied man, a flying ballerina, or even – and Children's Dental Specialists of Lake County particularly enjoys this one – a dental hygienist!

Mothers tend to find it comforting for their children to know that the tooth fairy will reward them for the pain of losing a tooth. They also see it as a sign that their children are not growing up too fast. Most children learn that the tooth fairy is a myth around age 5-7, and upon doing so, they like the custom.

Does your child need some tender, loving dental care? Just call (440)266-1740 to set a time to see Dr. Andrea Miller and our team in Mentor, Ohio. Our dental team is more than happy to assist your child’s dental care needs!