Blog Post

The Fairly Inconsistent Tooth Fairy
Posted on 01/13/2016

The Fairly Inconsistent Tooth Fairy

Blog_img_14Jan2016.jpgThe V.I.P. club of beloved mythical creatures has always had a few regulars.

These regulars—like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy—have been legend for so long that over the years their persona has changed substantially. More than most, however, the Tooth Fairy has an indefinite image across the world, causing representational disaccord with everything from gender to species.

For the purpose of this Amarillo, TX pediatric dentistry blog (and in observance of the accepted American consensus) we will stick with the pronoun of "she" when addressing the Tooth Fairy from hereon.

However, in truth, according to a 1984 study by renowned children’s author Rosemary Wells, only 74% of those surveyed in the U.S. believe that the Tooth Fairy is female. Around the world, though, this statistic is much lower as many international depictions of the Tooth Fairy portray her as a gender-neutral kind of enchanted creature.

From country to country, traditions revolving around the Tooth Fairy are diversely inconsistent in regards to what type of species she is. Throughout history she has been depicted in the form of a flying ballerina, a dragon, and a rodent just to name a few.

In many Hispanic cultures, for instance, the Tooth Fairy is known as Ratoncito Pérez (or "Pérez Mouse"). As early as the 1800’s, countries like Columbia, Venezuela, Uruguay, and Argentina have been placing lost teeth under pillows so that Ratoncito Pérez will replace them with a gift. Similarly, other Spanish cultures practice the same tradition; however they refer to this fairy rat as “Ratón de los Dientes" ("The Tooth Mouse").

Fairy rat traditions can also be found across Asia and Europe, too, but with their own unique twists. In Japan, for example, children throw fallen teeth onto the roof of their home or into the space between floorboards while shouting a request that the tooth be replaced with a mouse tooth, as mice teeth continue growing throughout their lives.

Overall, across the world the Tooth Fairy’s purpose fluctuates as much as her physical form does. Nevertheless, despite the changing nature of her story, the Tooth Fairy’s international lore has become a staple in the lives of many children—acting as a symbol for fun, odd magic, growing up, and (if you’re a kid in the U.S. in particular) the possibility of free cash.