Although the tooth fairy is commonly known across the United States, unlike Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, her original origins remain unclear.
In honor of National Tooth Fairy Day, which is celebrated on February 28th, we have decided to explore her history ourselves!
Among various cultures, traditions that bare similarity to the tooth fairy have been recorded. During the 19th century, French and Italian children would prepare for a small gift during their sleep after the loss of a tooth. In England, a similar custom took place; fairy coins were left for sleeping peasant girls. In Ireland, the term fairy changeling refers to a sprite that would kidnap a child at night and switch the youngster with a fairy. The proper way to ward off this phenomenon was to bury a baby tooth nearby.
Taking to the Stage
Tales of fairies, magic, and teeth were also prevalent in entertainment! “La Bonne Petite Souris,” or “The Good Little Mouse,” tells a tale of a fairy disguised as a mouse who helps a queen escape her husband, the king, by removing his teeth! This tale was so popular, that many other tooth fairy appearances took place overtime:
- 1920’s: “La Bonne Petite Souris” is released in English.
- 1949: Collier’s magazine publishes a story about the Tooth Fairy.
- 1950’s: American families are prosperous and adopt a child-centric view of home life.
- 1950: The Fairy Godmother from Disney’s Cinderella is a widely popular character.
- 1953: Disney’s Peter Pan is released, and Tinkerbell is universally loved by America.
- 1979: The Tooth Fairy is cited in The World Book Encyclopedia.
Adjusting her Rates for Inflation
Today, the tooth fairy is a common entity in the lives of children who lose their teeth. In the beginning, the going rate for a tooth was about 15 cents. Today, kids receive an average of $3.70 for a single baby tooth!