Asked by Rodrigo Schoen Fables and FolkloreMythology
Where does the Tooth Fairy come from?
January 07, 2020 8:45AM
December 16, 2019 10:29PM
Rituals for the proper disposal of baby teeth have been common all over the world for centuries, but the Tooth Fairy is a uniquely American amalgamation of several myths.
Rodents have long been associated with tooth rituals because of their strong teeth, and one of the Tooth Fairy’s precursors is a character in French folklore called La Petite Souris (The Little Mouse). She has origins in a 17th-century fairy tale, and she functions nearly identically to our Tooth Fairy—taking baby teeth from under pillows and leaving a small sum in return.
The other main folklore element behind the Tooth Fairy are good fairies, like Cinderella’s fairy godmother, which were popular characters in European folktales. These good fairies and The Little Mouse coalesced into the American Tooth Fairy sometime in the early 1900s.
The modern idea of the Tooth Fairy gained traction after World War II, due in part to the increased wealth in that era, and has remained popular ever since.