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Tooth Fairy: The Myth Behind the Practice

Nov 2nd 2015 at 10:56 PM


In the Western world, the belief among children about the existence of the tooth fairy remains strong despite the advent of technology – and it is a good thing, too, considering that it is best to let kids be kids so that the magic of childhood remains. Let’s look at the myth and magic behind the tradition.

Fantasy Figure

The tooth fairy is obviously a fantasy figure similar to Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny from early childhood. In folklore popular across North America and Europe, when children lose their baby teeth, they should place the teeth underneath their pillows. The tooth fairy will then visit them while they are sleeping and replace the teeth with a small payment, such as a pound or dollar for a tooth.

The reward, in a manner of speaking, for each baby tooth placed under a pillow varies depending on the country as well as the parents’ economic status. In the United States, for example, children receive an average of $3.70 per baby tooth (2013, Visa Inc. survey).

The tradition has its roots in ancient times particularly from the time of the Eddas, the earliest written record of Northern European and Norse traditions. Many superstitions were made about baby teeth, such as paying a small fee for a child who lost his baby tooth, burning the baby tooth to save the child from hardship as an adult, and carrying the baby tooth to battle as a good luck charm.

Modern Incarnation

In the modern world, fortunately, people do not believe in these superstitions anymore. Instead, the so-called tooth fairy takes the baby tooth away and replaces it with money. The children get the money for themselves as a reward for getting their baby teeth without much fuss while the parents can keep or throw the baby teeth away.

But why throw away a sentimental baby item when you can keep it for posterity’s sake? You have the choice of keeping your child’s baby teeth in a special container, such as the Tooth Fairy Box with Gold Plated Moving Teddy Bear in Sterling Silver; the first tooth container also comes with other toppers including rabbit, pacifier, and fairy as well as the words “My first tooth”.

The special container makes sense – neither a silver flask for liquor nor a fancy Pandora jewelry box is suitable for the item. The sterling silver box, however, is the perfect container because it can contain many other keepsakes aside from the tooth.

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