The Tooth Fairy is a much beloved legend. We all have fond memories of leaving each lost tooth under the pillow for the Tooth Fairy to find. But where did the Tooth Fairy originate?
The legend of the Tooth Fairy has evolved over time. However, legends and myths surrounding losing baby teeth go back for millennia. Long ago in Europe, when a child lost a baby tooth, they were supposed to bury it. Tradition stated that this would save the child from hardships in the afterlife. The Vikings used children’s teeth to bring them good luck in battle.
In almost every culture, traditions relating to the loss of baby teeth go back for thousands of years. When losing a baby tooth, a child would do one of the following:
– Throw the tooth into the sun
– Throw the tooth into the fire
– Throw the tooth backwards between the legs
– Throw the tooth onto or over the roof of their dwelling
– Place the tooth into a mouse’s hole
– Bury the tooth in the ground
– Hide the tooth from animals
– Place the tooth inside a tree
– Swallow the tooth, or have their mother or pet swallow it
Today, the “tooth deity” is most often depicted as a mouse who enters the child’s room to retrieve baby teeth. Russia, Spain, and many Asian countries have this tradition. The reason that a mouse is associated with these traditions is that rodents continue to grow their teeth for their entire lives. In other cultures, the “tooth deity” varies and appears as a rabbit, beaver, cat, dog, or squirrel.
Our beloved Tooth Fairy was inspired by the legend of the mouse combined with legends from Europe of a good fairy that originated in fairy tales. In about 1927, a book made our current idea of the Tooth Fairy popular in America.
We encourage you to contact Montgomery Dentistry soon to schedule your next appointment with Dr. Hull and Dr. Gibberman. Our dentists and team in Cincinnati, Ohio, are excited to serve you and your family!