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  • Amy Grebenow

Who is the Tooth Fairy?

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

With August 22nd being Tooth Fairy Day (celebrated twice a year on August 22nd and February 28th) we decided to do a little bit of a dive to figure out the origin of this famous fairy.

Folklore surrounding children's teeth date back to the early 17th century with the Scandinavian Vikings paying children for their teeth. Their legend has it that wearing the teeth will bring them protection in times of war.

The French and Spanish regions of Europe also have a legend surrounding children's teeth in the form of a mouse. A French fairy-tale by the name of "A Good Little Mouse" (La Bonne Petite Souris) follows a fairy that turns into a mouse to defeat an evil king by hiding under his pillow and stealing all his teeth when he's asleep. It was adapted from there to lead kids to believe when they lose their baby teeth, a mouse sneaks into their house and leaves them coins in exchange. Similarly, the Spanish regions have a mythical mouse that visits children at night to take their teeth and leave small "gifts of gratitude."

Our modern day western tradition didn't come about until around 1908 when the Chicago Tribune published an article introducing parents to the Tooth Fairy as a way to incentivize their children to get rid of their baby teeth. Kids are told that when they lose a tooth to leave it under their pillow so that the Tooth Fairy can come and collect it and leave them some money in exchange.

No matter how you chose to celebrate the Tooth Fairy, it's no secret that she's a beloved part of childhood traditions!

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