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Many of us grew up believing in the tooth fairy. Yes, as children we believed a tiny magical imp visited us the night after we lost one of our baby teeth. We put the tooth under our pillow and this dental pixie gave us cold hard cash in exchange. Not a bad deal.

The tooth fairy may not carry as much weight as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, but its arrival is a highly anticipated event. Like Santa Claus, the tooth fairy story involves a bit of parental bribery. Santa gets kids thinking about good behavior and the tooth fairy gets them thinking about their teeth and how to take care of them. Kids may also be unwilling to give up those first few wiggling, loose teeth, but the promise of a reward becomes appealing.

What are baby teeth?

Baby teeth are the first set of teeth we get. They become visible about six months to a year after birth. By age three, all 20 of our primary teeth appear. That’s the full set we need. Starting at age five, our permanent teeth start forming. These teeth gradually push the baby teeth out. Even though we get a second set, it’s important to properly care for the first set. Parents should start taking their babies to the family dentist about six months after the first baby teeth appear.

Origins of the tooth fairy myth

Baby teeth were considered good luck in ancient Norse culture. Warriors would bring them into battle to improve their chances of success. Other tooth traditions performed in Northern Europe included burying the teeth. In some cultures, baby teeth were burned, thrown on the rooftop, or put inside the walls of the home. In France, about 400 years ago, a child could expect an even bigger payout with the loss of the sixth tooth. A pet rabbit or mouse was the reward. In other countries, a mouse, not a fairy, is the one responsible for retrieving baby teeth.

The tooth transaction

So how much do kids in the U.S. earn from the tooth fairy? According to Delta Dental’s most recent Original Tooth Fairy Poll®, the payout has dropped 43 cents from the previous year. What does that mean for the health of the economy? Nothing really. This poll is not taken too seriously. We do know from the poll that the first lost tooth gets the biggest payout. Another interesting fact: frugal Midwest parents pay their children 73 cents less than the national average of $3.70.

Benefits of family dental care

Regular visits to the family dentist build lifelong relationships. Preventive dental care starts about six months after our teeth appear and continue throughout our lives. This includes proper dental hygiene and everyday tasks such as brushing, flossing, and rinsing with a mouthwash containing fluoride.

Schedule a checkup today!

Our professional dentistry partners at University Dental Associates are experts in family dentistry. We also specialize in cosmetic dentistry, routine exams, cleanings, tooth extraction and repair, tooth replacement, and restoration. Schedule an appointment online today or call us at 708-304-8406.