Unveiling the Enchantment: The Origin and Evolution of the Tooth Fairy

Unveiling the Enchantment: The Origin and Evolution of the Tooth Fairy

From generation to generation, the whimsical tale of the Tooth Fairy has captivated the imaginations of children and added a sprinkle of magic to the milestone of losing baby teeth. But where does the Tooth Fairy come from? Let's embark on a journey through time to uncover the enchanting origin of Tooth Fairy.

boy loses tooth and receives money in his tooth fairy pillow

Ancient Roots

While some believe the inspiration for the Tooth Fairy was inspired in part by a 17th century French fairy tale, La Bonne Petite Souris, or The Good Little Mouse; the roots of the Tooth Fairy myth trace back to ancient cultures with diverse beliefs.

In Norse mythology, it's said that a magical being called the Tandfé or "tooth fee" would exchange a baby teeth for a small reward. Similar customs existed in other cultures, each attributing a unique significance to the Tooth Fairy and the ritual of losing a child's baby teeth.

European Traditions

As European folklore spread, so did various interpretations of the tooth-swapping tradition. In medieval times, it was common for parents to bury a child's lost tooth to spare the child from hardships in the afterlife and bring good luck. Some believed this practice would also encourage the growth of a strong, healthy tooth in its place.

The Transformation in America

The modern Tooth Fairy as a benevolent, winged creature took shape in early 20th-century America. The legend gained popularity during the 1920s and 1930s, blending with the emerging culture of kids exchanging lost teeth for coins or small gifts. The idea of a fairy fluttering into children's rooms at night to collect teeth from tooth fairy pillows quickly captured the collective imagination.

Cultural Variances

Around the world, the Tooth Fairy takes on different forms and traditions. In some cultures, the lost tooth is thrown into the sky or placed in specific locations, such as on rooftops or in trees. The rewards vary, too, ranging from coins to sweets and small toys.

personalized tooth fairy pillow for girls

But how much does the Tooth Fairy pay? The amount left by the Tooth Fairy for a lost baby tooth also varies widely around the world, and even within regions, it can differ based on cultural traditions, economic factors, and individual family choices. Here's a glimpse of how much the Tooth Fairy might leave in different parts of the world:

United States:

In 1908, author Lillian Brown published an article in the Chicago Tribune where she suggested the Tooth Fairy leave money or a small gift under a child's pillow when a child lost teeth. The average amount left by the Tooth Fairy in the United States is around $1 to $5 per tooth. However, some generous Tooth Fairies may leave more for special occasions or the first tooth. The average in 2024 is about $6.23 per tooth.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the Tooth Fairy tends to leave slightly less, with amounts ranging from £1 to £5 for children's teeth.


The Canadian Tooth Fairy is known to leave an average of $2 to $5 per tooth, similar to American households.


A child's tooth might be worth $2 to $5 in Australia.


The Tooth Fairy European tradition varies widely. In some countries, like France and Germany, children might receive a small gift or a coin. Amounts can vary, but it's often symbolic.

Scandinavian Countries

Scandinavian countries, such as Sweden and Denmark, have unique Northern European traditions. Children might receive a small gift or money, and the amount can depend on family preferences.


In many Asian countries, the Tooth Fairy tradition is less prevalent, and the loss of a tooth might be celebrated differently. In some cultures, children might throw their lost tooth onto the roof for good luck.

Middle Eastern Countries

Traditions regarding lost teeth vary widely across the Middle East. In some countries, children may receive money or gifts, while in others, cultural customs take precedence.

It's important to note that the amount left by the Tooth Fairy is subjective and can depend on various factors, including family traditions, regional customs, and individual preferences. Ultimately, the Tooth Fairy's generosity is a magical and whimsical part of childhood, and the value of the experience often is more memorable than any money left behind.

what is the origin of the tooth fairy visiting and leaving small gifts for baby teeth

A Modern Tradition

Today, the Tooth Fairy has become a cherished character in the magic of childhood experiences. Parents and caregivers enthusiastically participate in the tradition, crafting elaborate stories and leaving special notes or tokens in exchange for a child's lost tooth. The Tooth Fairy's visit is often a source of excitement, fun and wonder, marking a child's transition from babyhood to a new stage of growth.

Beyond the Tooth Pillow

In today's world, the Tooth Fairy tradition has found additional avenues of expression. Creative parents might capture the Tooth Fairy's visit through photos, videos, or even personalized messages sent via email or text. This modern twist adds an extra layer of enchantment to the age-old tradition.

little girl receives  money in her tooth fairy pillow from the tooth fairy

After the Tooth Fairy Visit

After your child loses their tooth and the fairy has come to collect, what do you do with the tooth? According to a 2020 survey by DentaVox, 59% of its respondents preserve baby teeth in a keepsake box, 23% throw them out, and 18% use them some other way. Of the 59% who saved the teeth, 31% keep them in the family, 24% preserve them for their stem cells, and 4% hide them. Of the 23% who throw them away, 12% tossed them in the garbage, 7% disposed of them with a ritual, and 4% buried them.


The Tooth Fairy, with her wings and generous spirit, has woven herself into the fabric of childhood magic, evolving through centuries and cultures. While the details may vary, the essence remains the same—a whimsical, magical figure who transforms a seemingly ordinary event into a cherished and enchanting experience for children around the world. The story of the Tooth Fairy continues to captivate young hearts, leaving behind a trail of smiles and memories that last a lifetime.