Who is the Tooth Fairy?
Losing your first tooth can be a rite of passage for young children and
a potential visit from the Tooth Fairy only adds to the excitement of this
important moment. When a child loses one of their milk teeth, they are told that if they place the tooth underneath their pillow, they will be visited in the night by a special visitor known as the Tooth Fairy. This magical sprite will take the tooth while the child is sleeping and replace it with a coin or small gift. But where does the story of this intriguing figure originate from?
The ancient origins of the Tooth Fairy
While the Tooth Fairy we know and love today is a relatively contemporary
invention, many ancient societies contained cultural practices associated with
children’s teeth. In Scandinavia, a payment of tand-fé was made when a child lost its first tooth, a practice which is described in the earliest written records of Norse customs. Vikings were said to pay children for their teeth which were worn as talismen in battle on strings around the warrior’s necks to bring good luck. The disposal of teeth continued in England during the Middle Ages when children were told to burn their teeth to protect them in the afterlife; children who did not burn their teeth in the fire would be consigned to an eternal afterlife searching for them. Likewise, in medieval Britain, children’s teeth were considered to hold special powers for witches; children were told to bury their teeth to keep them safe from witches’ malicious spells and wrongdoings. In Middle Eastern countries a tradition dating back to the thirteenth century encouraged parents to throw baby teeth up into the air as a tribute to the sun or Allah.
Contemporary traditions around the world
The Tooth Fairy story is told in many English-speaking countries, however similar mythological figures crop up in various myths around the world today. With striking similarities to the Tooth Fairy myth, in many Spanish speaking countries when a child loses a tooth it is customary for it to be placed under a pillow so that a magical mouse can exchange it for a gift while they sleep. In Spain the mouse is known Ratoncito Pérez and in Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay and Colombia, he is known as El Ratón Pérez. This tradition continues in Italy with a mouse character named Topolino. In France and Belgium the mouse is called la petite souris. In Northern Spain a character called Mari Teilatukoa is said to live in the roof and catch teeth thrown upwards by children. In India, China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam it is also customary for a child to throw their lost teeth onto the roof.
In all of these traditions, caring for children when they lose their first teeth is a common theme. Parents and guardians use myths as a way to provide comfort for children as they go through important stages of growing up. As a child’s gums and teeth develop, regular check-ups at the dentist will ensure the health
and happiness of your family.
Call Artista Dental Studio today to begin excellent dental care for your child and Happy National Tooth Fairy Day!