by Jennifer A. DiGiovanni
Although many countries around the world have unique traditions to mark the loss of a child’s baby teeth, the tooth fairy legend is believed to have originated in the United States in the early part of the 1900s. This custom has remained popular, and even today, many parents search for fun and creative ideas about how use the tooth fairy story to celebrate the loss of a child’s baby teeth.
Setting Tooth Fairy Expectations
Children generally begin to lose their baby teeth between the ages of 5 and 7. By the time a child’s full set of 32 adult teeth come in, he will have lost 20 baby teeth. When a child loses his first tooth, parents may wish to set expectations regarding tooth fairy visits. Delta Dental conducts an annual tooth fairy poll, which tracks a sampling of tooth fairy payments. Over the last 10 years, the amount has vacillated between $1.50 and $2.50. The poll trend further indicates that the value of a tooth actually moves up and down in close relation to the U. S. economy.
To further assist parents, Visa has created a Tooth Fairy Calculator App which allows you to input geographic and demographic data to receive an average payment for kids in your area. The app also compares the current payment amount to the equivalent you as a parent would have received when you were a child.
Starting a Tooth Fairy Tradition to Encourage Good Dental Habits
Creative tooth fairy ideas can also incorporate dental care education and establish good brushing habits. Reinforcing the importance of dental care routines by using notes written by the tooth fairy is a fun way to remind kids to brush and floss. Printable tooth fairy receipts and note cards are available online, or you can design your own using notepaper and glitter for fairy dust to make the experience seem even more authentic.
Tooth containers are another popular item associated with visits from the tooth fairy. Mini treasure chests are an option. Tooth-shaped pillows or monogrammed pillows with pockets to hold the lost tooth will help to avoid losing the important item before the tooth fairy arrives to collect it.
Unforeseen Circumstances Affecting Tooth Fairy Visits
Sometimes a child may lose a tooth and not even be aware that it has fallen out. In this case, your child can write a short note, with your help, to explain the situation to the tooth fairy and perhaps to suggest a location to search (school, playground, etc.). Also, on extremely busy nights, the tooth fairy may not have cash on hand — especially when the tooth loss occurs right before bedtime — and will need to supply a child with an IOU. Explain to your child that lots of kids at that age lose teeth, and sometimes this happens on the same day. Also, there are times when the tooth fairy forgets to visit or just doesn’t make it to your house. A simple explanation with the promise of a reward the next night will usually suffice.
Tooth Fairy Ideas for Extraordinary Situations
Occasionally, a baby tooth is lost prematurely due to an accident or injury. In other situations, baby teeth refuse to come out on their own and need to be “wiggled” out at the dentist’s office. These special cases call for extra care and attention from parents as well as from the tooth fairy. An encouraging letter from the tooth fairy, accompanied by a treat, can be sent to praise the child’s bravery at the dentist office. Reassuring a child who has been through a dental procedure helps to take away some of the fear and provides an opportunity to discuss the experience with your child at his level of understanding.