NATIONAL TOOTH FAIRY DAY
February 28th, National Tooth Fairy Day, encourages us to take a look back on the history of one of dental care’s little helpers. It’s one way our children develop good dental hygiene.
Like some of the fantastic creations who oversee children, the tooth fairy is a relative newcomer to the world of childhood fantasies.
In the mid-1920s, fairies were used for all sorts of health education, from bath fairies to fresh air fairies as a way to get kids to remember to eat their vegetables, wash behind their ears and get a good night’s rest. Like toothpaste today advertises fruity flavors and sparkles to get kids excited to brush their teeth, in 1925, it was probably quite a bit more difficult considering the pastes were mostly peroxide and baking soda. One advertisement was for a Fairy Wand Tooth Whitener. This product promised to brush away cigarette and coffee stains. The ad was aimed at both children and adults, we hope!
Then in 1927, Esther Watkins Arnold printed an eight-page playlet for children called The Tooth Fairy. The same year Sir Arthur Conan Doyle “proved” his claim that fairies and gnomes are real and “verified” with pictures of two little girls surrounded by fairies. The world was ripe with imagination and primed to have a tooth fairy to come collect the lost teeth of little boys and girls and leave a coin or two behind.
Arnold’s play began to be performed in schools the following year, and the tooth fairy has been slipping into homes ever since. She (or he) started leaving nickels and dimes under the pillows of sleeping children. Over the years, there have been variations on the theme.
In 1942, in an article written by columnist Bob Balfe in the Palm Beach Post, his children received War Stamps to put in their books when they lost a tooth. It was a popular alternative during a time when giving to the war effort was a motivating factor.
Today, the tooth fairy jingles less often. The average payout for a lost tooth ranges from $3 to $4 and can go even higher if Dad is on duty or if the tooth is lost late at night with no time for a parent to run to an ATM.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalToothFairyDay
- Make an appointment for your next cleaning.
- Ask your parents if they still have the first tooth you lost.
- Be a tooth fairy!
- Volunteer or give to dental organizations. Many of them provide free or low-cost dental care to those who cannot afford it. Others support dental students in their educational journey. These organizations are a vital part of our communities and states. You can also give a shout-out to your favorite organization. Be a tooth fairy to those near you. We found a few that might interest you.
- America’s Dentists Care Foundation, Missions of Mercy
- National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, also known as America’s ToothFairy
- Download this coloring page to celebrate!
- Use #NationalToothFairyDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL TOOTH FAIRY DAY HISTORY
Children’s author, Katie Davis, created the February 28th observance of National Tooth Fairy Day. While there is also an August 22nd observance, it is interesting to note the two observances are six months apart and the American Dental Association’s recommendation to have cleanings twice annually.
Q. Do other countries believe in the tooth fairy?
A. Fairies, in general, are found worldwide, but the tooth fairy is a unique creature. The United Kingdom practices similar tooth fairy traditions. However, in other parts of the world like Spain, France, and Mexico, a little mouse pays a visit leaving little treats in exchange for the tooth.
Q. Are adults visited by the tooth fairy?
A. No. Losing an adult tooth usually means a visit to the dentist.
Q. When do children usually lose their first tooth?
A. Children lose their first tooth around the age of 6 years old.
February 28th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History
Baltimore, Maryland merchants chartered the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the first railroad in America to offer commercial service to both people and freight. They hoped to better compete with New York for trade from the west.
Dr. Wallace Carothers develops the synthetic polymer nylon. The chemist developed the material while working for DuPont, and its invention led to many applications including toothbrush bristles, women’s stockings, cord, fabrics, furniture, and more.
The University of Pittsburgh squares off against Fordham University at Madison Square Garden in the first televised basketball game. NBC broadcast the hoops event with Pittsburgh winning 57-37.
Paul Simon takes home two wins at the 18th annual Grammy Awards. Still Crazy After All These Years won Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance. Andy Williams hosted. Other winners included Natalie Cole won Vest R&B Vocal Performance for “This Will Be” and Stephen Sondheim took home Song of the Year for “Send in the Clowns” from the Broadway hit A Little Night Music.
The beloved television show M*A*S*H airs its final episode. A record 106 million viewers tune and the show still holds the record for a season finale viewership.
February 28th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays
John Tenniel – 1820
The political cartoonist is better known for his illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s fantasy novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.
Dee Alexander Brown – 1908
The historian and author of numerous books is better known for his work Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.
Vincente Minnelli – 1910
The American film and stage director is known for directing classic musicals, including Meet Me in St. Louis and The Band Wagon. He won Academy Awards for An American in Paris and Gigi.
Tommy Tune – 1939
The 10-time Tony-winning actor, dancing, director, and choreographer is known for his Broadway productions. From Seesaw to A Joyful Noise and Grand Hotel, his performances and productions are always stellar.
Mario Andretti – 1940
For 36 years, the Italian-born American racing driver kept the heat on stock car, U.S. championship, and Formula One racers. He drove them all.
Bernadette Peters – 1948
The award-winning actress graced both stage and screen, sharing her humor and musical talents. Peters keeps us in stitches in The Jerk and plays a memorable Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun.
Mercedes Ruehl – 1948
The immensely talented dramatic actress, Mercedes Ruehl, has earned several awards for her performances on both stage and screen. Her role as Anne in The Fisher King earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Ruehl earned a Tony for her role as Bella in the Neil Simon drama Lost In Yonkers. She revived the role for the 1993 opposite Richard Dreyfus.
Bugsy Siegel -1906
Bubba Smith – 1945
John Turturro – 1957
Rae Dawn Chong – 1962