Many American children have been visited by the tooth fairy – generally envisioned as a Tinkerbell-type character who gives kids a financial reward in exchange for their baby teeth. In fact, the tooth fairy is so popular that there are two “national days” honoring this tradition: August 22 and February 28.
According the Original Tooth Fairy Poll, the fairy’s dental payouts are a good indicator of the economy. During the most recent recession, the average payment per tooth in the U.S. was $1.50. Now kids are getting $4.00 to $5.00 for each lost tooth.
Children typically have about 20 baby teeth, so at $5.00 per tooth the fairy’s total payout over the six or seven years of primary tooth loss adds up to $100 per child.
About 85% of American kids are visited by the tooth fairy. Elsewhere in the world, children expect a visit from the Tooth Rodent.
In many Spanish-speaking cultures, he is known as “Ratóncito Pérez” or “El Raton de Los Dientes” or “el Ratón,” for short. Italian children anticipate visits from the “Topolino dei denti da latte,” (Baby Teeth Mouse). French children call him “La Petite Souris,” (Little Mouse) and he appears in French folktales as early as the 17th century.
America’s own Tooth Fairy was not really fully established in the U.S until the 1940s. The very first print mention – in a children’s play – only dates back to 1927.
Regardless of one’s traditions, it is important to teach children how to take care of their teeth properly.
“Instilling good oral hygiene habits early on – including regular checkups – absolutely helps avoid future dental issues and expensive restorative procedures in the future. Going to the dentist is like putting money in the bank,” said Bill Chase, senior vice president of marketing for DentalPlans.com.
DentalPlans.com offers the following tips to help ensure kids’ smiles stay healthy:
Start early: Speak to a dentist to learn how to brush a baby’s teeth. Experts recommend starting brushing as soon as the first baby tooth erupts. Make sure to use an extremely soft toothbrush (or a prewashed, soft piece of cloth) and the tiniest bit of toothpaste.
Enforce the two-minute rule: Make sure your kids know that a proper brushing requires two full minutes. There are smart toothbrushes, and apps, that provide a fun way of timing tooth brushing sessions (and keep the kids engaged and entertained).
Be gentle: Make sure that your kids know that aggressive teeth scrubbing can wear down enamel and cause gum inflammation.
Visit the pros: Dental professionals can teach children the right way to brush and floss. And seeing the dentist and hygienist regularly is essential for preventing dental disease.
Set a good example: Kids take their cues from the adults around them. If they see parents/caretakers skipping dental visits, they’ll assume oral hygiene really is not that important – or that it is just kid stuff.
If budgets are too tight to afford dental care for everyone in the family, consider joining a dental savings plan. Members get 10-60% off the cost of dental care – from preventive to restorative treatments (including braces) from a nationwide network of more than 100,000 dentists. Find out more by visiting dentalplans.com today.