The Myth Behind the Tooth Fairy
Most people have grown up on folktales and stories from around the world. Due to American pop culture, certain folk stories have got international recognition, like Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy. Focusing on Tooth Fairy, most people might not be aware that the general idea of Tooth Fairy’s legend has been prevalent in many different cultures. The American version is the most recognizable one, where a child places his lost baby tooth under the pillow hoping to get a reward the next morning. Let us see how this legend evolved into its modern incarnation!
- Old tooth myths: The story of the Tooth Fairy as we know is a recent creation and like other myths, it has evolved. According to early European legends, a child’s baby tooth must be buried to spare the child from hardships in the next life. The general tradition of Tooth Fairy also came out of Europe and it was inspired by fairy tales and literature from the recent times.
- Traditions around the world: The most popular image of “Tooth Deity” is surprisingly that of a mouse. It was said that a mouse would enter the rooms of children and remove baby teeth. Russia, Spain, and many Asian countries like China have this tradition. The reason for mice being the symbol of the Tooth Fairy in many cultures is because rodents can grow their teeth their entire life. Other cultures had different animals like beavers, dogs, cats or squirrels, as their “Tooth Fairy.”
Some traditional rituals of the Tooth Fairy in different cultures included:
- Throwing the tooth into a fire
- Throwing the tooth backward between legs
- Throwing the tooth onto or over the roof of the house
- Put the tooth inside a tree
Why should children believe in it?
Losing a tooth can be a painful and scary experience for children. In such a situation, making them believe in a harmless myth can provide a much-needed comfort. Presently, the tradition has been modified so that children till a certain age get some rupees on losing baby teeth. This is a good way to teach kids how to manage money.
To conclude, Tooth Fairy despite appearing to be a western folk legend, was practiced in many different cultures. Today, dentists use the story of the Tooth Fairy to encourage dental hygiene. The notion of a tooth fairy makes maintaining oral health easier for children, and that’s very reassuring!