Like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy is a mythical character, a creature of popular folklore that has become an integral part of childhood and family life. She serves to reassure young children when they lose their baby teeth, honor their courage in the face of this loss, alleviate their fears and teach them to express their emotions, thus helping them grow up.
Traditionally, when children lose a baby tooth, they put it under their pillow before going to bed. During the night, the Tooth Fairy, as quick as lightning, replaces the tooth with one of more coins. Upon awakening, the children are thrilled to find a reward in exchange for their lost tooth.
No one knows exactly how or where the Tooth Fairy originated. However, her story and that of the Little Mouse (in most French-speaking countries) are intertwined. In fact, they share a common source dating from a seventeenth-century French tale by Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, Baroness d’Aulnoy: The Good Little Mouse. This book tells the story of a fairy who transforms herself into a mouse to help a queen vanquish an evil king. The mouse hides under the king’s pillow and punishes him by making all of his teeth fall out.
The myth as we know it today appeared in 1927 in a tale by Ester Watkins Arnold, The Tooth Fairy, but it wasn’t fully developed until 1949 with the publication of the book The Tooth Fairy by Lee Rogow. This highly popular tale inspired the ritual of exchanging a tooth for money, in addition to encouraging children to develop good dental hygiene habits.
Around the world, this myth, which takes various forms in accordance with each culture, is also known by different names:
- In France, Belgium, Switzerland, Morocco, Algeria, Luxembourg and the majority of other French-speaking countries, they speak of the little mouse.
- In the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Denmark, New Zealand and Australia, they speak of the Tooth Fairy (or the fée des dents in the French-speaking regions). The Tooth Fairy also exists in Germany as “Zahnfee” and in Norway as “Tannfe”.
- In Italy, the two characters coexist as “Topino” and “Fatina.”
- In some Spanish-speaking countries such as Spain and Argentina, the character is known as “Ratoncito Pérez.”
- In Venezuela and Mexico, they speak of “El Ratón” (the mouse).
- And in Catalonia, they speak of “Els angelets” (the little angels).
A short anecdote
During the COVID-19 pandemic, starting in April of 2020, the premier of Quebec and the prime minister of New Zealand put the Tooth Fairy on the list of essential services so that she could continue her work. Additionally, the premier of Quebec, François Legault, specified that she had been vaccinated against Coronavirus.
What better way to reassure children and perpetuate magic, imagination and happiness in their lives!
Contact the team of professionals at Clinique Dentaire Charles Trottier. It would be their pleasure to advise you and inform you regarding your children’s oral health.