Losing teeth can be a scary experience for your child. It marks the first movement from being a “little kid” to being a “big kid.” You can help make the experience less intimidating by introducing the tooth fairy. She can be a fun tradition for the whole family to participate in!

How did the Tooth Fairy hype begin?

Where does she come from? According to an article by Salon Magazine’s Michael Hingston, the tooth fairy is only 88 years old. But every culture has a tradition going back thousands of years built around the loss of children’s teeth. Middle Eastern cultures offer their teeth to the sun by throwing their teeth up in the air, while some Asian cultures believe that by throwing their lower teeth on the roof and their upper teeth on the floor (or under) they can ensure healthy tooth growth.

In many European cultures, teeth are offered to a mouse or rat so that children’s adult teeth will grow to become as strong as the teeth of a rodent. In Spain and other Spanish speaking countries they call the mouse Ratóncito Pérez who exchanges the tooth for a gift. The list goes on and on.

In the US, we started the tooth fairy tradition in 1927 by mixing the figure of the mouse that exchanges the tooth for a gift with the much more pleasing form of the good natured fairy from European stories. And instead of leaving gifts, we leave money.

Tips for Making the Tooth Fairy More Fun

Just having your children put their teeth under the pillow every time they lose their tooth can get repetitive and boring. Help make their transition into a “big kid” extra special. Here are some ways you can help your child feel more engaged and keep the magic alive with these great, yet inexpensive tooth fairy ideas.

Proof of Purchase

Certificates of good healthy teeth can help your child keep their teeth clean enough for the tooth fairy. These certificates can include the child’s name, date of tooth loss, method of tooth loss, and how much the child received in return for the tooth. Receipts are also a cute keepsake for the tooth. You can make these from scratch from Pinterest templates or print them out. My favorite printable Tooth Fairy receipt is from Oh My Gluestick because it includes a checkbox for quality of tooth. Both the certificates and receipts can be a great addition to your child’s scrapbook.

Caught in the Act

Icaughtthetoothfairy.com is a fun service that provides photographic “evidence” of the tooth fairy. Just upload a picture of your sleeping child to the site and they’ll put an image of the tooth fairy caught in the act of taking the tooth. Leave it by your kid’s bed or give it to them at breakfast. They’ll be so excited to show off their amazing photo with the tooth fairy and make their friends jealous.

Tooth Box or Pillow or Jar

If your child is a light sleeper, having them put their tooth under the pillow may be a bad idea. Instead, make a special box out of cardboard or wood and have your kid decorate it however they want. This lets your child feel even more involved in the tooth fairy tradition. Matchboxes are the perfect size for a tooth box plus they’re pretty inexpensive. Customized pillows and jars will also do the trick.


Have your child write letters to the tooth fairy like they would Santa Claus. Creating a personal relationship with the tooth fairy will make sure your child looks forward to losing their teeth. You can use this opportunity to teach them a lesson about good brushing habits. Miniature letters from the tooth fairy encourages good dental health or keeping their room clean.

Letters from the tooth fairy can also positively reinforce your child’s behavior by praising their good dental habits. Tell your children that the tooth fairy pays more for healthy teeth. For a fun easy kit, visit www.officeofthetoothfairy.com for “The Official Tooth Fairy Kit” which includes a certificate with the official tooth fairy seal as well as a reusable cloth bag to store the certificate and teeth in.

Count the teeth

A tooth punch card is a great way to keep track of how many teeth your child has lost. A punch card can also keep costs down. Twenty teeth can get rack up a hefty sum so employ the punch card method that restaurants use. Every tooth lost gets a quarter and once the child has lost five or ten teeth they get a whole dollar or five or however much you want to give them.

A chart of the teeth can also help keeps track of the teeth your child loses. Labeling the teeth will help your children understand what each tooth is called. This way they can learn about the way teeth are placed in their mouth and why it’s so important to brush all the way in the back.

Fairy dust

Fairy dust can be a fun way to bring the magic alive. Pinterest has some great ways to make fairy dust. My favorite is a recipe for edible fairy dust that uses sugar, food coloring and your oven. Make use of the homemade fairy dust and bring the tooth fairy alive by making little footprints on the windowsill with Barbie shoes. You can also use glitter hair spray found at Walmart, party store, or Halloween store. Spray the glitter on the dollar bill and coins to make it look touched by a fairy.

The tooth fairy can be a great tool to teach your children the importance of good dental hygiene. Plus activities including the tooth fairy make for great meaningful family time fun. Talk about two birds with one stone!

South Davis Pediatric Dentistry is a children's dental office in Bountiful Utah