Tooth Fairy 101: Ideas, Traditions and History!

February 28th is National Tooth Fairy Day! In celebration of one of our favorite days of the year, we’ve compiled some Tooth Fairy history, fun facts and traditions you can try at home with your kids.

The History of the Tooth Fairy

Although there are several stories behind how the myth of the Tooth Fairy began, one of the most popular has its roots in European history.

It is believed that many centuries ago, Europeans would bury their children’s baby teeth underground so that the new, permanent teeth would grow. Some people believe there was a superstition that witches would place a curse on a child if a baby tooth was found, and so burying the teeth kept them hidden. Over time, children began putting their teeth under their pillows. Their parents would take the teeth and leave a coin or other treat behind. Parents would tell the story of the Tooth Fairy to delight their children.

Fun Tooth Fairy Facts

Think every country celebrates the loss of a baby tooth the same way? Wrong! Tooth Fairy myths take many different shapes around the world. Here are some fun facts about traditions in other cultures:

  • In Japan, some children throw their lower teeth into the air and their upper teeth down to the ground. Why? So that their permanent teeth grow in straight!
  • In Spanish cultures, children put their teeth under the pillow for the Ratoncito Perez, or the Tooth Mouse. In France he is called La Petite Souris, or The Little Mouse, and children leave cheese out for him, too.
  • A white fairy rat buys children’s teeth with coins in parts of Lowland Scotland.

Tooth Fairy Traditions to Try at Home

Families often have their own Tooth Fairy traditions. You may have heard of parents who decorate their children’s rooms with glitter, or “fairy dust.” It’s not uncommon for parents to make Tooth Fairy footprints in the glitter. Some parents purchase Tooth Fairy pillows online. There are even complete kits that include Tooth Fairy receipts!

You may want to try one of these ideas:

  • Spray glitter on a dollar bill to leave under the pillow.
  • Leave a fun, new vibrating toothbrush and kids’ flavored toothpaste.
  • Ask the bank to order gold plated coins to place under the pillow.
  • Leave the tooth in clear water at bedtime and add food coloring and glitter while your child is sleeping.

Share your Tooth Fairy traditions with the Craig Armstrong, DDS team on Facebook! And we’d love to know – what’s the going rate for a tooth in your home?

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What You Need to Know About Your Child and the Dentist

With February being National Children’s Dental Health Month, it’s a great time to discuss the importance of taking your child to the dentist. Children should visit the dentist no later than six months after the first baby tooth arrives. However, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends seeing the dentist before your child’s first birthday.

There are two reasons why the first dental visit is so important. First, it allows the dentist to examine your child’s mouth to ensure everything is on track as far as growth and development. Second, it sets the stage for a lifetime of good dental care, while giving your children the chance to become familiar with the routine.

Preparing Your Child for the Dentist

It’s normal for children to be nervous before seeing the dentist for the first time. In addition to finding a dentist who enjoys working with children, there are other ways to ensure the visit goes well.

Talk with your child about what to expect. Go over what will happen at the dental visit and listen to your child’s concerns. Don’t let your own anxiety show, because your children will pick up on it. Some dentists will allow you to take a tour before the big day.

Schedule an early appointment. Most children are more cooperative in the morning after a good night’s sleep. Try to make one of the first appointments of the day, when your child is more apt to be in an agreeable mood.

Teach your child how to relax. If your child gets anxious easily, consider practicing relaxation exercises prior to the visit. For example, show your child how to take deep belly breaths, exhaling through the mouth. Another good exercise is tensing and releasing each part of the body, one at a time.

Consider nitrous oxide. Your child won’t need any treatments performed during the first visit, but may need a filling later on. If that is the case you may want to discuss the option of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, to help calm your child while the dentist is working.

What to Expect

During your child’s first dental visit, you can expect the following:

  • An oral examination to check for decay, injuries and other issues
  • A thorough cleaning to remove bacteria and plaque
  • A fluoride treatment if needed
  • Instructions on how to take care of teeth at home
  • A treatment plan, if dental work is necessary

You will have time to share any concerns with the dentist. Bring a list of any questions you have so that you don’t forget. Let the dentist know if your child sucks his thumb or uses a pacifier.

After the dentist finishes the exam, you will schedule the next appointment. Children and adults should have an exam and cleaning at least once every six months. Stay on top of your own appointments to show your child that dental care is a priority for the whole family.

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It’s National Children’s Dental Health Month!

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month – and a great time to discuss how to take care of your children’s teeth to ensure healthy smiles for years to come.

Teaching children good dental habits can be one of the most important things a parent does. When kids are small, parents should do the brushing. As a matter of fact, parents should begin brushing their children’s teeth when they are still babies, as soon as those first teeth start to poke through. Just use a child’s toothbrush and plain water.

When children reach the age of two, add a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to the routine. Choose a toothpaste with fluoride, but make sure your child spits it out after brushing. Then when you notice that your child has two teeth that touch, it is time to incorporate flossing too. Eventually, your child will be ready to brush and floss without your help.

Remember, brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing them once a day is important for people of all ages, whether children or adults. Let your kids see you brushing and flossing regularly, because they learn by your example.

Questions for Your Child’s Dentist

Always share concerns about your children’s teeth with their dentist. Here are answers to some of the most common questions parents have about their children’s teeth.

Is it okay for my child to suck his thumb?

Although most children stop sucking their thumb by the age of 3 or 4, there are some that continue beyond that. Unfortunately, when children suck their thumb after the arrival of their permanent teeth, they can change the alignment of their teeth and bite. It all depends on the intensity and frequency of the behavior. For example, if your son tends to just hold his thumb in his mouth, it will not cause the type of damage that sucking his thumb vigorously will. The next time you bring your child in for a check-up, let the dentist know about the thumb sucking so that he or she can evaluate the situation.

Besides brushing and flossing, how can I protect my child from cavities?

Some areas of your child’s mouth are more prone to cavities than others, especially when teeth have deep grooves where food and bacteria can become trapped. Ask your dentist about sealants, which protect baby teeth and permanent teeth from cavities. They can be applied quickly without causing discomfort, and even be reapplied if they become worn out from continued chewing.

One of my child’s baby teeth fell out early. Should I be concerned?

Sometimes a baby tooth falls out before the permanent tooth is ready to break through. When that happens, there is a risk that another permanent tooth could erupt in the wrong place. Eventually there may not be enough room for all of the permanent teeth to fit. Fortunately, your dentist can insert a space maintainer to hold the space open until that space is needed. Ask your dentist if a space maintainer is recommended.

My dentist says my child has a “bad bite.” Is that serious?

A bad bite, called malocclusion, occurs when either a patient’s teeth are out of alignment or the jaws come together improperly. It is usually apparent when a child’s permanent teeth begin to come in. It is serious in that it can make it hard for your child to clean between crowded or crooked teeth, leaving them at risk for tooth decay and gum disease. However, a bad bite can be treated, and when it is caught early the situation can be remedied.

Remember, to keep your children’s teeth healthy make sure they brush and floss daily – along with everyone else in the family! Print out our fun brushing chart and use it at home with your kids to keep them on track!

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