Just the other day while my kiddo was pulling out her own molar, one of the last few baby teeth, there was this question that came up that I didn’t have an answer to.
She was brushing her tooth that she had just pulled. “Why are you brushing your tooth? I asked you to brush your teeth in your mouth.” was my question. A funny look and the comment “I don’t think the tooth fairy likes dirty teeth Mami” was her answer. “But what do you think does the tooth fairy do with all the teeth she collects every night?”
“hm…. I do not know , I will have to research that. And don’t hide your tooth again so the tooth fairy has to search for your tooth so long again.” Last time I couldn’t find the tooth and I had to leave a note.
I didn’t grow up with a tooth fairy story, so I was new to that whole thing. So here a little background to the fairy story:
In early Europe[when?], it was a tradition to bury baby teeth that fell out. When a child’s sixth tooth falls out, it is a custom for parents to slip a gift or money from the tooth fairy under the child’s pillow, but to leave the tooth as a reward.
In northern Europe, there was also a tradition of tand-fé or tooth fee, which was paid when a child lost its first tooth. This tradition is recorded in writings as early as the Eddas, which are the earliest written record of Norse and Northern European traditions.
The reward left varies by country, the family’s economic status, amounts the child’s peers report receiving and other factors. A 2013 survey by Visa Inc. found that American children receive $3.70 per tooth on average.
During the Middle Ages, other superstitions arose surrounding children’s teeth. In England, for example, children were instructed to burn their baby teeth in order to save the child from hardship in the afterlife. Children who didn’t consign their baby teeth to the fire would spend eternity searching for them in the afterlife. The Vikings, it is said, paid children for their teeth. In the Norse culture, children’s teeth and other articles belonging to children, were said to bring good luck in battle, and Scandinavian warriors hung children’s teeth on a string around their necks. Fear of witches was another reason to bury or burn teeth. In medieval Europe, it was thought that if a witch were to get hold of one of your teeth, it could lead to them having total power over you.
The modern incarnation of these traditions into an actual tooth fairy has been dated to 1927, 1962, or even 1977. However, there is an earlier reference to the tooth fairy in a 1908 “Household Hints” item in the Chicago Daily Tribune (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tooth_fairy)
Here is what I found what the Tooth fairy had to say about, what she uses the teeth for:
Primarily, the teeth are used to build our town but depending on the size and shape some of the teeth are used to make shoes, computers and other things we use on a daily basis. While some people have told me that it’s a bit strange or gross, consider many of the toys you have are made of plastic which I don’t like. The Tooth Fairy Village is a very sustainable community and teeth are the strongest and longest lasting material. You can read her whole story here.
I don’t know what I will tell my kiddo yet about what happens to her teeth when the tooth fairy picks them up. But I found out that I am not the only one facing this question. There are many pages filled on google search with the search for answers. Funny answers, some scientific some questionable ones.
So of course my weekly search on the handmade pages took me to the subject of teeth.
click on the individual picture and it will take you to the Zibbet shop.
I did ask my kiddo the other day what she thinks the tooth fairy does with all those teeth. “I think she keeps them to keep all those memories safe we had with our baby teeth.” was the answer I got.
click on the picture and it will take you to the Etsy treasury.