One of the most recurring traditions concerning losing baby teeth involves offering the lost tooth to a mouse or rat in hopes that the child’s tooth will grow in as strong as those of the rodents. This practice has been documented in countries and cultures all over the world spanning many centuries. Anthropology categorizes this type of tradition as “sympathetic magic.” Over time, the similar traditions of cultures all over the world merged and with the magic Disney was spreading in the 1950’s American children now had their own fairy tale creature.
Some experts attribute the magic of the modern day American Tooth Fairy to the cultural impact that Disney’s magical stories were having on children and adults at the time of the tooth fairy’s big breakthrough.
In 1940, Pinocchio was released. It featured the beautiful, maternal Blue Fairy who brought Pinocchio to life and spoke words of encouragement to him about achieving his dream to living life as a real boy. As kids lose their baby teeth from about age 5-11, a similar transition is taking place from childhood to the big kid years. The Blue Fairy speaks to Pinocchio about being ‘brave, truthful and unselfish.’ She puts the responsibility of making his wish come true on his own shoulders. So, in this way the Blue Fairy comforts him during this confusing transitional stage and gives him wisdom for how to navigate successfully through it.
In 1950, Cinderella hit the big screens and brought to life another fairy dressed in a gown of blue with maternal and loving character traits. The Fairy Godmother as she is aptly named, first visits Cinderella when she is crying, alone and distraught. These feelings are sometimes reported by psychologists about children struggling with the confusing nature of permanence and loss; concepts people don’t realize are directly associated with the loss of baby teeth. Shortly after this film’s debut, the concept of The Tooth Fairy as we know her today really took off.
Over the last half-century, not much has changed about our interpretation of her, and she has gained popularity as the third most recognized mythical childhood figure behind only Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny. DreamWorks featured her widely accepted representation of a kind, maternal and loving character in their recent film Rise of the Guardians.
Dr. Kerbel recommends regular cleanings every six months to keep children’s teeth in tip-top shape for their visits from the beloved Tooth Fairy. Call our office today at (972) 278-9901 or visit us online HERE to request an appointment.