The Tooth Fairy is a much beloved legend. We all have fond memories of leaving each lost tooth under the pillow for the Tooth Fairy to find. But where did the Tooth Fairy originate?
The legend of the Tooth Fairy has evolved and changed over time. However, legends and traditions surrounding losing baby teeth go back for millennia. Long ago in Europe, when a child lost a baby tooth, they were supposed to bury it to save themselves from hardship in the next life. The Vikings used children’s teeth to bring them good luck in battle. They paid their child a fee so they could use the baby tooth, which was often made into jewelry.
Other traditions relating to the loss of baby teeth go back thousands of years in almost every culture. When losing a baby tooth, tradition said that they should:
– Throw the tooth into the sun
– Throw the tooth into the fire
– Throw the tooth backwards between the legs
– Throw the tooth onto or over the roof of their home or dwelling
– Place the tooth into a mouse’s hole
– Bury the tooth in the ground
– Hide the tooth out of sight of animals
– Place the tooth inside a tree or on the wall
– Swallow the tooth, or have their mother or pet swallow it
Today, the “tooth deity” is most often depicted as a mouse who enters children’ s rooms to remove baby teeth. Russia, Spain, and many Asian countries have this tradition. The reason that a mouse is associated with these traditions is that rodents continue to grow their teeth for their entire lives.
Our beloved Tooth Fairy was inspired by the legend of the mouse combined with legends from Europe of a good fairy that originated in fairy tales. In about 1927, a book made our current idea of the Tooth Fairy popular in America.
We welcome you to contact Henderson Family Dental to schedule your next appointment with Dr. Nathan Schwartz. Our dentist and team in Henderson, Nevada, are excited to see you and your family!