Alongside Santa Claus and the Easter bunny, the tooth fairy is one of the most popular sprites in Western culture. Here in the UK she comes at night to children who have lost a baby tooth (known as a milk tooth), exchanging it for some money - but she’s not the same in every culture. Let’s take a look at some fun stories about the tooth fairy.
The tooth fairy isn’t always a fairy
At least, not in the way we think of her - as a winged girl in a dainty dress. In France and Belgium, the tooth fairy is a mouse that sneaks under your pillow to collect your tooth. Other countries depict her as a beaver, a cat or a squirrel.
The tooth fairy has a busy job
The tooth fairy is always on the go. With some 300,000 teeth to collect from children across the world every night, she has to stay on her toes to get the job done. When the teeth are collected, she takes them back to the fairy community where she lives and uses them to build houses.
The tooth fairy visits each child around 20 times
Children have 20 milk teeth that they lose over the span of a few years, which means the tooth fairy visits each child around 20 times. Even if the lost tooth isn’t left under your pillow, she will still find it and pay you a visit.
The tooth fairy has her two national days
The tooth fairy is a hard worker, so it seems fair that she has not one but two national days in the Western calendar. On both 28 February and 22 August each year, we can celebrate her contribution to good dental hygiene.
The tooth fairy throughout history
Different versions of the tooth fairy appear in stories throughout history - and she wasn’t always kind. The Vikings had a tradition of giving a tand-fé (‘tooth fee’) to children who lost a tooth, and the fairy world Alfheim was given to the god Frey as a ‘tooth gift’.
In English folklore, meanwhile, the tooth fairy was preceded by Jenny Greenteeth, a fairy-like witch that hid in stagnant ponds and caught children who didn’t look after their teeth. More recently, in the Dragons and Mythical Beasts Live show, there’s a version of the tooth fairy that isn’t as sweet as you’d think!
It wasn’t until the early 1900s that the tooth fairy started visiting children as she does today, leaving money for lost teeth.
Discover the tooth fairy
Did you know you can see the tooth fairy for yourself? Dragons and Mythical Beasts is one of the best kids shows live on stage and features an appearance from this busy little sprite - although she may look a little different to how you expect! Book your tickets today to discover a world of fascinating creatures at this Olivier Award nominated show.