The Legend of the Tooth Fairy

February is Children’s Dental Health Month, a month where we celebrate the importance of taking care of children’s primary teeth. An infants first tooth is typically the bottom front central incisors that develop at six months. By three years of age children will have all 20 of their primary (baby) teeth. After the age of six, children begin to notice loose teeth. Some maintain an age-old tradition of placing a baby tooth under your pillow, where the tooth fairy will come and replace it with a gift.

February 28, is recognized as Tooth Fairy Day! The legend of the tooth fairy is said to have begun in northern Europe. There was an ancient tradition of a tooth fee that would be paid to the child who had lost their baby tooth. They called this a “tand-fé”. This is documented in an early Icelandic record called the Poetic Edda, where they note a tooth gift.

There are also legends from the Viking warriors that they exchanged currency for baby teeth believing that the baby teeth would bring them good fortune in battle. In Finland and Scandinavia there are myths of trolls that brought on toothache. As history has evolved, so have the myths. Poems have tied fairies to toothaches as well. Next time a baby tooth wiggles put it under the pillow and see what magic awaits! And remember to brush your teeth every morning and night for the tooth that replaces it will be yours for life.


Dr. Leelah Jaberi, DDS

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