The Tooth Fairy In Our Media and Cultures
Technically considered a mythical creature, the tooth fairy is a popular myth that has been around since Norse times. The most favored tradition is that when a child’s tooth is loose and finally falls out, they place it underneath their pillow and, that night, the tooth fairy is to show up and replace the tooth with a coin or dollar bill.
Other Legends and Fables
Putting a tooth under a pillow is one of the best known tooth fairy stories today, but there are many other fables that people would tell in other countries, religions and times in our past.
Bordering Wales and Scotland in the United Kingdom, England has been around since the late 800s. Long ago, children living in England didn’t have a tooth fairy, but there was still an interesting belief about the baby teeth they lost as the grew up. When a child’s tooth fell out they had to actually burn them, which, according to the superstition, was to save them the misery of having to search for them eternally after they died and their souls moved to the afterlife.
Vikings are often people shown that are large, muscular, wearing furs and horned helmets charging into battle or sailing the seas in unique looking ships. They, too, were located in and around Europe, Russia, Sicily, France and even as far as Asia and Africa. Like the general population of Europe, the Vikings didn’t have a tooth fairy belief. Instead, they actually thought baby teeth lost by children were good luck, and would carry those teeth on themselves into battle.
in medieval times, there were many types of people and religions forming. Witchcraft was one of them, and people lived in fear of witches for a long time. It was believed that if a witch found a tooth you lost they could possess you.
It wasn’t until the 1920s that the winged version of the tooth fairy that we know so well came to be. However, even though the myth has been around that long, there are many different types of the tooth fairy. Some believe the tooth fairy is male, or an animal, while others picture the iconic fairy with glittering wings and a wand. Parents initially began thinking that if their child had a positive reaction to losing a baby tooth it wouldn’t be so traumatic for them.
Growing In Different Ways
As technology advanced, so did our means of sharing different types of entertainment. Creativity is encouraged as much as possible, meaning we are constantly seeing new ideas, projects, movies and advertisements. Mythological creatures, fables and magic tend to be favorite subjects, especially with children, which is why the tooth fairy has grown so much over the years in our media.
Throughout the years many movies have been made about or featuring the tooth fairy. While the majority of them are children’s animated movies, there are a few live-action ones with some famous actors portraying the winged lady (or man!), and there’s even an R rated horror movie out there. Some of our favorites that are fun for the entire family include:
- Arthur’s Tooth – a sweet, animated movie starring a famous aardvark
- Tooth Fairy – Dwayne Johnson and Ashley Judd star
- Tooth Fairy 2 – this time starring Larry the Cable Guy
- Toothless – starring Kirstie Alley
- Tooth – a movie from the tooth fairy’s perspective as she teams up with Mrs. Santa Claus
Social media has pretty much exploded over the last ten years or so, bringing about popular sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. One other site that has grown in popularity recently is Pinterest. This is a site where members can share photos of all kinds and “pin” them to different virtual pin boards. Great for recopies and do-it-yourself projects, Pinterest is the site to go for new ideas for just about anything.
If you type “tooth fairy” into Pinterest’s search engine, you will be flooded with amazing, fun projects that you can do at home. Some are for tooth fairy costumes, others are to make things such as homemade receipts or glittery money to put under your children’s pillows instead of just a coin. The possibilities are endless, and the tooth fairy is a very popular search on Pinterest.
In the Community
Many people dress up like the tooth fairy at Halloween, especially children, but once in awhile the legend will make an appearance elsewhere. To teach kids about the importance of keeping their teeth healthy, teachers or even visitors from a local dental office can dress as the tooth fairy and help them learn how to brush and floss their teeth. It is a great way to get kids to pay attention to their oral health, and to be excited to learn more about their teeth. Other times people have dressed up as this mythological creature have been at charity races, county fairs and on National Tooth Fairy day, which is August 22nd.
Make Your Own Tooth Fairy Myth!
With so many different versions of the tooth fairy – and so many different ways you can go about the tradition in your own home – there is no right or wrong way to congratulate your child when they lose a tooth. It can be a scary process for any child, and the fact that there is something to smile about when it happens makes all the difference. Look up new ideas online and watch a few of the movies we listed above to get your child more into the mythology of the tooth fairy and enjoy the giggles and grins you’ll receive when they find a trail of glittery “fairy dust” by their bed the next morning, or as they help build a custom tooth fairy box for the storage of their lost teeth. Just remember, always stay regular with their six month cleanings and check ups so we can ensure their adult teeth are coming in properly. While you’re in, we’d love to hear about your tooth fairy projects and ideas!