The tooth fairy and your family dentists in Geelong

September 15, 2015

Wyatt Ryan Dental is committed to providing patients with the best care and attention, and this includes our smaller patients! Our dentists are sensitive to the special needs of children visiting our dental practice. Rather than finding it a challenge, at Wyatt Ryan we welcome our younger patients. It is exciting to encourage children to learn about their teeth, the best things they can do to keep them clean and healthy, and to demystify a visit to the dentist.

With our young patients in mind, we have decided to look back at the beginnings of one of the most important figures in the dental industry. She is, of course, the tooth fairy. As one of the first dental professionals in the lives of your children, we thought it might be interesting for you, as parents, to know when and where the tooth fairy first made an appearance.

In ancient times, teeth were considered to hold certain powers. There was a belief in some cultures that if a witch were to get hold of a part of someone’s body, no matter how small, they could take over control over that person. Every child loses their set of baby teeth, which means that each child had 20 possibilities of a witch taking them over, and that was just worrying about teeth!  Parents would typically throw teeth into a fire as quickly as they could after they had fallen out or been removed. Teeth were also buried, hidden where animals couldn’t get them or wedged into trees or crevices in a wall. They were even swallowed by the mother!

One of the most documented rituals was the offering of a lost tooth as a sacrifice to a rodent. Mice and rats have extremely strong and sturdy teeth, and before the advent of modern dentistry practices people would often resort to magic and witchcraft in the hope of gaining healthy and strong teeth. There isn’t any scientific evidence to tell us how well the magic or witchcraft worked though.

The tooth fairy herself is actually quite a new fairy. In 1927 a play was written for children called “The Tooth Fairy” and it was not until 1947 that the first written work was published about the tooth fairy. The rite of passage of losing a tooth is seen as quite a momentous one for children, and belief in the tooth fairy can ease some of the pain and trauma involved. Leaving coins behind for the child is a distinctly western invention, where money is a symbol of success and responsibility as children transition into adulthood.

Whatever the origins of the tooth fairy, it seems that the vast majority of parents are happy about her existence. According to a recent American survey, 97 percent of parents who were questioned about the tooth fairy had positive feelings towards her! But at Wyatt Ryan, we know that a visit to the dentist works alongside with a belief in the tooth fairy, so make an appointment with one of the dentists Geelong parents have been relying on for expert and gentle dental care for children – Wyatt Ryan Dental.