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Story Time with Your Kelowna Dentists: The History of the Tooth Fairy


Do you remember losing your first tooth, placing it under your pillow before you fell asleep and waking the next morning to find the tooth had been replaced with coins or a treat? Your Kelowna dentists explain who the tooth fairy is and why she leaves money in place of baby teeth.


How long has the tooth fairy been around?

The tooth fairy has only been a prominent children’s tale for the last century. Mainstream media such as Disney movies has brought the fairy phenomenon to the forefront of childhood experiences. The play The Tooth Fairy was the first play written about this profession-specialized fairy geared towards kids. It appeared in 1927, and a book with the same title followed shortly after in 1949.

Where did the tale originate?

Fairytales are often told to children to help them make sense of a traumatic experience or to help teach them right from wrong. They’re passed along from generation to generation in the form of children’s books and storytelling. Your Kelowna dental clinic has done a little digging to find out where the tooth fairy legend may have come from.

France – In the fairytale La Bonne Petit Souris (The Good Little Mouse), a mouse helps the good queen defeat the evil king by hiding under the king’s pillow and knocking out all of his teeth while he sleeps.

Europe – Centuries ago, it was habit to bury fallen baby teeth in the ground in the hopes that a permanent tooth would take its place. Another explanation for burying baby teeth was to keep it out of the clutches of evil witches. If a witch took possession of a baby’s tooth, a curse could be placed upon the child.

Vikings – Vikings believed that baby teeth were good luck. They would pay children for their fallen teeth and take the teeth into battle for strength and luck. Often times these teeth would be strung together to make jewelry.

North America – Adopting some of these ancient folklores, North Americans typically replace a child’s tooth, which is placed underneath their pillow while they sleep, with money. The average cost per tooth nowadays? $3.70!

So… what’s the point of the tooth fairy?

For a child, losing a tooth can be a pretty scary experience. Although it’s usually painless, it’s not a lot of fun to pull out a wiggling, hanging-by-a-string baby tooth. For the last century, parents have used the legend of the tooth fairy to make the loss of a tooth experience a little less frightening and a lot more fun.

Whether you’re visiting us for cosmetic or general dentistry, we provide a comfortable experience with results that will last. Contact us to book an appointment today!

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