When your children lose their first tooth (sometime around age six or seven), the tooth fairy will visit your house. The legend of the tooth fairy is well known among children; you might still remember the excitement of waking to find a treat left by this magical hoarder of discarded teeth. Now you are charged with keeping this mystical legend alive for your own children, and we would like to share some tooth fairy ideas with you.
When do kids lose teeth?
Most children lose their first tooth sometime around the age of six or seven. However, this can vary wildly between children, so don’t worry if it happens to your child sooner or later than this. If you have concerns about your children’s teeth, always ask their dentist for advice.
For more information about choosing a pediatric dentist, look at What To Look For When Selecting The Child’s First Dentist.
In what order should baby teeth fall out?
Usually, your child’s teeth fall out in the same order they came in. In other words, they will lose their first teeth first. That often means the bottom front teeth, so they will probably be the first to fall out. The top front teeth will usually follow before children are aged eight.
The canines or cuspids (the sharp pointy teeth) and the first molars usually fall out between the ages of nine and twelve. The second molars are the last to fall out, usually before the child’s 12th birthday.
Is it ok to wiggle loose baby teeth?
Yes, it’s absolutely fine for your children to wiggle their loose teeth. You might find they push them about with their tongue or wiggle them with their fingers absent-mindedly. It won’t do any harm, though it might gross you out.
Why do we have the tooth fairy?
Teeth have always held symbolic importance in folklore, and the first mention of a tooth fairy dates back to 18th century France. A French fairy turned into a mouse to defeat an evil King by knocking out his tooth. The Tooth Mouse is still an important legend in France and children gleefully await visits from the Tooth Mouse (who, by the way, no longer knocks out any teeth).
Today’s tooth fairy didn’t make her appearance until the 1900s and the exact history of the legend isn’t known. However, the custom originated in Europe and has since become popular in other countries across the globe.
For at least 100 years, the tooth fairy has been leaving gifts in return for lost baby teeth. Traditionally, the tooth fairy leaves a coin in place of the tooth. If some playground rumors are to be believed, though, she is much more likely to carry notes these days.
What should the tooth fairy leave?
The tooth fairy usually leaves money for the child as ‘payment’ for the tooth. Why she needs so many baby teeth is unknown, though most kids are happy to accept payment for their lost teeth.
One important thing to consider when deciding how extravagant your tooth fairy should be is that you will have to repeat the ritual twenty times per child. Although you might have all the generosity of a high-budget movie director on the first staging, your enthusiasm could wane a few years down the line.
To make it easier for yourself, you should keep all your tooth fairy props, together with some loose change, in an easily accessible place in your home. Teeth can fall out without much warning and at seemingly inopportune moments, so it pays to be prepared.
How much should the tooth fairy leave?
There is no set figure for how much the tooth fairy should leave, but it might help to ask around the playground to see what the going rate in your local area is. Children often excitedly discuss tooth fairy visits in school the following day, so your child will probably know how much their peers are getting from the tooth fairy.
Remember, your child has 20 teeth to lose, so think about how much you will have to spend in total. Some parents set a fixed price per tooth, whereas others vary how much the tooth fairy leaves according to how much they happen to have in the house that night.
10 fun tooth fairy ideas
1. ‘No money’ tooth fairy ideas
The tooth fairy shouldn’t be leaving you penniless. If you can’t afford it or would rather fight back against the capitalist nature of the tooth fairy, you can adopt a ‘no money’ tooth fairy tradition instead. For example, the tooth fairy could suggest an activity so that you can spend some quality time as a family.
Options include baking cookies, watching a movie, having a family sleepover or having a family picnic at the park. You can think of something you know your child will love and have the tooth fairy leave a note announcing it.
2. A tooth fairy door
If you’re looking for a simple way to add some extra magic to the tooth fairy tale, why not add a tooth fairy door to your child’s bedroom? These cute little wooden doors are temporarily fixed to the wall, allowing the tooth fairy to enter your child’s room whenever needed.
Have the door ready and waiting in advance, then put it in place when your child loses the first tooth. Imagine how excited your child will be to find this portal to another world in the bedroom.
3. Tooth fairy dust
You can’t have a fairy without fairy dust, can you? So for an extra sprinkle of magic, leave a trail of fairy dust in your child’s bedroom. If you have a fairy door, leave a little trail near the doorway to prove the fairy visited through it.
Glitter is the obvious choice for tooth fairy dust but there are more environmentally-friendly options if you’d rather choose something ‘greener’. For example, paper confetti or colored salt will work just as well as glitter.
4. Cute tooth fairy notes
To go the extra mile, why not leave cute notes from the tooth fairy? You could even use this to congratulate your kids for taking great care of their teeth. It might even encourage them to keep up the excellent work.
5. Tooth fairy box
There’s nothing more stressful than not being able to find your child’s tooth under the pillow in the middle of the night. Purchasing a tooth fairy box takes the stress out of the switch because you can leave it somewhere accessible where, most important of all, your child’s sleeping head isn’t resting.
There are loads of cute tooth fairy boxes online, so look for one you think your child will love. For example, for children who love crafts, you could buy a plain wooden box for them to decorate especially. This will be a lovely activity in preparation for their first tooth falling out.
6. Tooth fairy pillow
A tooth fairy pillow is a cute alternative to the tooth fairy boxes detailed above. Rather than simply leaving the tooth under your child’s regular pillow (and then cursing yourself at 11 pm when you can’t find it), you could invest in a tooth fairy pillow.
Tooth fairy pillows feature little pockets for the tiny tooth, so it’s easy to locate – even in the dark when you’re half asleep. Many cute designs are available, or you could make your own by sewing a little pocket on to an existing pillowcase.
7. Stories about tooth fairy visits
To add some magic to the legend of the tooth fairy, you could include some stories about the tooth fairy in your bedtime reading. Your kids will probably ask for these stories when they have wobbly teeth are anticipating another visit from the tooth fairy.
8. Leave a tooth receipt
Because taking the teeth is transactional, why not leave a receipt for proof of purchase? Tooth fairy receipts can include the cost as well as the condition of the teeth. In addition, it’s a cute keepsake for your children to keep track of how many teeth they’ve lost.
9. Alternative to cash
If you’re not keen on the tooth fairy leaving money, why not have her leave a gift instead? Your child will love discovering a gift from the tooth fairies, which could create a much-loved family tradition.
The gifts can grow with your child over time, so you can start with pocket money toys or stickers. Of course, you’ll need to have a stash of little gifts hidden in the house to pull this off, or you’ll be stuck when your child loses a tooth at bedtime.
10. Tooth fairy dental hygiene
As far as tooth fairy ideas go, this is probably one of the most useful. Why not have the tooth fairy give your children something to improve their dental care, in return for the lost tooth? This could be a new toothbrush, some floss or perhaps a timer so they can make sure they’re cleaning their teeth for two full minutes at a time.
This gift will probably be more appreciated if it comes from the tooth fairy, so it’s a great way to encourage your child to pay more attention to dental hygiene.
For more information on this, see How To Teach Children To Practice Good Oral Hygiene.
Help! I forgot the tooth fairy
If your child wakes up excited only to discover a big fat nothing from the tooth fairy, don’t beat yourself up. All parents make mistakes and the forgotten tooth fairy is probably one of the most common.
How do you explain the lost tooth still under the pillow in the morning? You could say you forgot to request a visit or quickly write a note from the tooth fairy saying she doesn’t have space in her sack but will be back to collect it tomorrow.
Whatever you do, the tooth fairy will need to make up for it with an extra special tooth fairy letter of apology. Next time, set a reminder on your phone so you remember to switch the tooth before you go to bed.