"What is the origin of the Tooth Fairy?"

Q: What is the origin of the Tooth Fairy?

A: The modern story of the Tooth Fairy is apparently less than a century old, but it grows out of other myths that are much older.

For centuries, many cultures have had teething rituals. In various European countries it was once believed that witches used lost teeth for curses, so people were understandably very anxious about the disposal of their children’s teeth. People buried baby teeth, hid them, swallowed them, threw them into the fire or flung them high into the sky to send them to the sun.

Some countries had a superstition that if an animal ate your child’s tooth, your child would grow a new tooth that looked like the animal’s. Mice have strong, sharp teeth that never stop growing, so it was considered a good thing if a child’s lost tooth was eaten by a mouse! Perhaps because of this, many cultures have depicted the tooth fairy as a mouse.

In 1927 Esther Watkins Arnold wrote a popular children’s play called The Tooth Fairy. This did a lot to define the story of the Tooth Fairy in America, and by the 1950s the character was being regularly featured in movies, cartoons, TV shows and books. Nowadays the character of the Tooth Fairy is well-established… But even after all this time, we still don’t know what she does with all of those teeth!

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees patients in the Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

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