As a child, losing a tooth can be an exciting time. Not only does it mean that a new tooth will be arriving soon, it also means that something else will be arriving — the Tooth Fairy. This stealthy visitor arrives late at night and exchanges a tooth left under a pillow for something special: a note, a small gift or maybe even some cold, hard cash.
So where did the Tooth Fairy come from? There’s no definitive answer.
Many ancient and medieval cultures had rituals involving children’s teeth, in which the baby teeth were thrown, burned or even fed to animals to ward off evil or promote health and good luck. Norse warriors would buy children’s baby teeth to use as good luck charms in battle.
The modern version of the Tooth Fairy evolved more recently, tracing its roots back to 17th century Europe. The Tooth Fairy’s arrival to the United States, however, was surprisingly recent.