Let’s Talk: Tooth Fairy Traditions

The following is by Simple Kids editor Kara Fleck and originally appeared July 2010.

Our oldest child, Jillian, is eight, which means that we’ve had a little experience with the Tooth Fairy lately.  The loss of a baby tooth and the arrival of the Tooth Fairy is a much celebrated thing at our house – and a tradition that I’m glad to see holds as much magic on this side of childhood, too.

In fact, my daughter loves visits from the Tooth Fairy so much that she recently did the “door trick” all by herself when a wiggly tooth just wasn’t falling out fast enough.  Determined that the Fairy was coming that night, and undeterred by my protests that it might hurt or be a little bloody, Jillian carried on tying her tooth to the door knob and then slamming the door (she’s much braver than her mother).  Success!

Now, the magic hasn’t been without its close calls. A time or two the Tooth Fairy has been caught empty-handed when a tooth erupted too close to bedtime (luckily, the Easter Bunny and Santa are generous with their gift stash).

Once the (obviously over-worked and very tired) Fairy completely spaced out and forgot to come! She made it up with a sweet note and an extra token the next night.  We certainly hope that she has learned her lesson.


My daughter has a special tooth pillow, one that my Mom gave her which was made by my Great-Aunt Annie.  That little tooth shaped pillow has carefully protected generations of teeth until the Tooth Fairy’s arrival.

In this pocket you will find
A teensy, tiny tooth of mine.
So while I sleep where
dreams are made,
Let’s see if you
can make a trade.

In this pocket I will lay,
the little tooth I lost today.
Please, dear fairy,
tonight as I sleep
leave me a coin.
My tooth you can keep.

Author Unknown

When I was a kid, the Tooth Fairy left us quarters.  Today, typically at our house a tooth is exchanged for marbles, pretty beads, quarters, mini-nail polishes, hair barrettes, or a new tooth brush.

Let’s Talk

I’ve shared with you a little about our family‘s Tooth Fairy traditions.  Now, let’s talk.   I’d love to hear what your Tooth Fairy traditions are.

  • What does the Tooth Fairy leave in exchange for the pearly whites at YOUR house?
  • Does your child have a special tooth pillow?
  • Know any tips or tricks for encouraging a wiggly tooth that is hanging by a thread to break free?
  • Has the Tooth Fairy ever missed her date at your house?  How did she make it up?

Other than a dimple in a cute little chin, What’s more adorable than a toothless grin?
~Azu “Betty” Espezia

About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at KElizabethFleck.com.

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  1. I recently posted about the “Tooth Fairy” conundrum over at my blog, too — Here’s the link! http://extraordinarymomsnetwork.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/do-you-believe-in-tooth-fairy/

  2. Tamara Chewning says:

    Well, my daughter is 4 1/2 and got her first loose tooth a few days ago. She is not a fan of the Tooth Fairy I’ve come to find out. The other night she went to bed in tears and when I asked her what was wrong she said, “Mama, how do you spell, “I want to keep my tooth.”?” So we got some paper and I helped her spell it out for the Tooth Fairy. I told her that once her tooth fell out if she didn’t want the Tooth Fairy to take it that she wouldn’t. Poor girl!

  3. The tooth fairy in our house brings £1 coin and after my son wrote a lovely note she also brought some fairy dust and some small felt hearts. I LOVE the notes my children leave for the TF. We have a tooth pillow that my mum made for us when we were wee. We’ve also had a potty-fairy and a dummy-fairy in our house.

  4. my daughter has lost two teeth. the first one caught me completely off guard as it was just 5 days after she turned six. it was a mere few hours from the time she came to me and showed me her loose tooth until it popped out and flew across the kitchen floor! that night she wrapped it in a vintage handkerchief and she got a gold coin, though i had never intended to give her money. since she had another loose one right away, we got busy and made her a tooth pillow. she designed it and carded the wool to stuff it. this time the tooth fairy was prepared and had a shiny new crystal waiting for her. she loved it! i have two more stashed away for the next to fall. 😉 pics here:
    rae´s latest post: i see you

  5. I know! My fav was the potty-fairy – this was when my 4 nearly 5 year old refused to go to the toilet anywhere except in the potty in our house – but outside she would go in a toilet no prob. So when we were on hols my mum went to our house, removed the potty and left a note and a wild animal sticker book to say that the potty-fairy had been and she needed the potty for other smaller children but she’d left my daughter a lovely book. Worked like a charm. The dummy – pacifer fairy worked in the same way and it was all so magical it was a lovely and pain free way of moving on from these items.

  6. Ma Elisa says:

    In Argentina, children believe in a certain mouse (Ratón Perez – Perez being his last name, ratón the Spanish term for mouse).

    My mother used to tell me the same story every time a tooth fell off my mouth: Mr Perez loves Mrs Perez very much. Her name is Rosita (Rosie), and he makes her necklaces and earrings and other jewelry with beautiful clean children teeth (notice clean is the key for a healthy mouth!). So he visits children’s bedrooms whenever there’s a tooth for him ,takes the “precious rock” and leave a bank note (or 2!).

    I’m 34 and my mum still keeps my teeth and the letters I used to write.
    My daughter is 3 and she is already eager to have a tooth off so she can leave it for Rosie’s new necklace (and receive some money for her piggy bank!)
    I hope you’ve enjoyed this tradition!
    Ma Elisa

  7. We have seven kids, so far four have made it to Tooth Fairy status.. My 7 yr old daughter just lost a tooth and another is loose, and yesterday my 6 yr old fell and knocked his top front teeth (baby teeth) loose. So in a matter of time they will both fall out (according to the dentist, who isn’t concerned as he is old enough to lose his teeth.) So I have been thinking about tooth fairy visits lately and this post hits the spot!! Usually we give coins, but I love the idea of marbles and pretty beads and mini nail polishes, a new toothbrush etc. And the Tooth Fairy on several occasions has fallen asleep on the job and forgotten to stop by.. usually we tell the kids that she called IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT!! and told us that there were just too many kids that lost their teeth that night, and she will be by the next night, with something extra. Or we tell them she was on vacation but she is back now LOL.. We also tell the kids that the whiter and prettier the teeth are the more they are worth! Which caused my 7 yr DD to spend over and hour in the bathroom scrubbing her newly lost tooth til it shone.. :o)

  8. When each of my boys lost their first tooth, their first gift from the tooth fairy was a very special little book, in which she had written a poem and left a little (colored pencil) drawing. The rest of the pages were blank. With each subsequent tooth loss, my boys would leave the little notebook along with the lost tooth under their pillow. In the morning, there would be a new poem and drawing in the book, along with a special trinket like a polished stone or crystal, or a small wooden animal. Now they are 15 and 18, but they still have and treasure their tooth fairy books.

    Incidentally, the tooth fairy soon learned to compose her poems and have a stash of treasures in advance, so she didn’t have to quickly come up with something when a tooth came out unexpectedly late at night!

    Here’s an example of what she would write (this after a day when my son expressed a wish to be able to fly):

    Hip hip hooray, hip hip hooray!
    Harper lost his first tooth today!
    You say you want to learn to fly
    These few things, first you must try.
    Be brave and strong, be kind and true,
    And all good things will happen to you!

  9. Kristen says:

    My daughter swallowed her first tooth. The tooth fairy left her a pillow with money tucked inside the pocket. Now the tooth fairy brings $1 coins (which I always keep a stash on hand).

  10. Kristen says:

    My baby lost her first tooth at age two due to trauma and a necessary extraction. Since my oldest had yet to turn four and, ofcourse, hadn’t lost any teeth, we needed to have conversations about the tooth fairy with each of them. The baby was too young to really understand or participate in the tooth fairy process, which worried my oldest, so we’ve decided to save her tooth. If and whenever she comes to me with questions about the missing tooth, we’ll produce it and go through the tradition then. If I had to guess, I’ll bet the tooth fairy will visit the baby on the night that my oldest looses her first tooth. At least we will be saving her a trip:)

  11. Carolyn says:

    I am afraid the tooth-fairy often gets confused at our house. She has accidentally left things in Mom and Dad’s bedroom by mistake! 😮

  12. My oldest lost her first tooth at 4 and was too young to understand money, and with a 2 yr old in the house as well we decided to do trinkets and small gifts rather than coins. I always have a gift stash hidden away so am prepared for whenever it may be. I remember one night of panic when the “toothfairy” simply could not find the tooth in the special pillow, even with a flashlight! I distracted my daughter out of her room as soon as she woke up, so I could go in there and find it to avoid any trauma.

  13. here is a great book I share with my k/1 students about what kids around the world do with their teeth when they lose them. I teach in a very multicultural setting so we then share what happens at home with their teeth.


  14. My daughter just lost her first 2 teeth. The first was while we were living in the UK, so the “English” tooth fairy brought her a shiny Pound coin. The second fell out while we were on holiday in Italy, so the “Italian” tooth fairy left her a Euro coin. Now that we’re back in the US, she is in suspense as to what the “American” tooth fairy will bring. Such great memory making!

  15. We have a little pillow with a pocket on the front. My friend made it for us. My daughter receives a gold dollar coin. We keep a stash on hand.

  16. Our toothfairy is on the international circuit. She brings coins from around the world (often from a few different countries each time and the kids can trace her route. There have been times she hasn’t made here on the night the tooth came out but we find later she was stuck on a tropical island during the rainy season, or in the mountains of Europe in the snow etc. We love getting international coins in part because it eliminates comparison about who got how much.

    When our kids loose their first tooth we make a “tooth-velope” which is a small pouch made from wool felt. The tooth gets safely tucked in there and it is easier for the tooth fairy to find and to put the coins into the pouch for safe keeping.

  17. Deana Garrett says:

    My husband’s mother knitted my children a ‘tooth pixie’ – a little elf-looking doll that cleverly has a tooth/coin sized pouch on his belt. The pixie’s job is to sit in the window and alert the tooth fairy of a tooth when she goes past. Much easier than rooting under pillows like my mum did (especially as my eldest is on the top bunk!), and my kids love putting him in the window and playing with the pixie along with their other dolls when all teeth are firmly in place.

  18. I love the ‘tooth elf’ idea- as our little one has just moved into a top bed!

    Unfortunaltly our little one wouldn’t wait once she had a wobbly tooth…
    It was out the same day! (With lots of blood, and a huge root still!)
    She currently has 2 wobbly ones, but is leaving them to come out on their own this time :-)

    Our tooth fairy will ONLY pay for shiney teeth, but we discussed at an early age that teeth only get shiney if they are brushed properly while still growing!
    (So we all have to brush our teeth properly every morning & night- not just when they fall out). This has also helped with trips to the dentist, as he/she has to count the teeth, and make sure they are looking good enough for the fairy :-)
    Our dentists’ have always been in contact with the tooth fairy, and will let her know if they aren’t looking good.
    (Our daughter has pointed this out to other children… and suggested they start brushing!)

    Our fairy brings a gold coin… its enough to buy a small book or doll from the shop- but the tooth fairy doesn’t like her money being spent on sweets (as they may rot your other teeth).

    Our tooth fairy makes jewellery, or repairs (or extentions) to her fairy tooth castle, and we agree that there are lots of tooth fairies.

    “Mummy kept her teeth when she was younger”
    (they live in a pretty box my father gave me when I was old enough- after collecting mine on behalf of my tooth fairy),
    but our daughter has always had the choice to give them to the fairy or not- however our tooth fairy doesn’t pay if you don’t give her the tooth!

    Its been lovely seeing some other ideas- Thanks :-)

  19. The tooth fairy missed our house on several occasions. I think she was just super busy that night! We did have a special tooth pillow for our son and made sure to put it under the extra pillow so that the TF would not disturb anyone’s slumber. :)
    Paula@Simply Sandwich´s latest post: Preparing for the College Move

  20. Great post! And your daughter is very cute in that toothless grin. My son is a tooth fairy believer. When his first tooth fallout, he is very excited to put it in his pillow and go to sleep so the tooth fairy can exchange it with some dollar(yes he wanted it in dollar). So the tooth fairy did exchange that priceless tooth for a dollar. :)
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  21. My seven year-old son is also now toothless and he kept his tooth in his drawer expecting tooth Fairy to come.
    Ashley´s latest post: cheap car insurance

  22. Love Tooth fairy ideas – we shared some fun ideas a fewmonths ago over on 24/7 MOMS website http://bit.ly/pXT6MU
    Check them out for more kid fun

  23. Heather says:

    My almost six year old son thinks the idea of a stranger coming into his room in the middle of the night is terrifying. He has an excellent point. He has his first loose tooth right now, but the tooth fairy will not be coming to our house.

  24. wow, I’m loving all these unique ideas and traditions. I recently posted on facebook about our daughter’s loss of her first tooth. I was asking about ideas on how much money the tooth fairy is giving these days. When I was a child we got some change and occasionally a dollar bill. Based on the fb responses it seems like the going rate these days was an average of $5 with a few people going as high as $10 per tooth!! We did start with five single dollar bills. The next morning we heard her telling grandma on the phone she got $5 because she is 5 yrs old LOL. I like your ideas of special pillows and little gifts, maybe next time around our tooth fairy can be a little more thrifty while still making them happy:)

  25. Gretchen says:

    We just read Junie b Jones, Toothless Wonder. Junie B decides that the tooth fairy RECYCLES and gives the teeth she takes to babies, like Junie b’s little brother. My daughter loved that idea! She’s 7 and we are still waiting for a truly wiggly tooth! I am glad to get all these good ideas before her first falls out! I LOVE the book idea!!!

  26. That note is so cute. Last year, my older sister forgot to place money under my 5 year-old niece’s pillow. I saved the day by paying someone on Fiverr $5 to call up my niece and pretend to be the tooth fairy. I think the fairy was an actress or something because my niece ate it up. The next day she told all her friends “the Tooth Fairy called yesterday.” So precious.
    carly´s latest post: My Irvine dentist

  27. when my daughter lost her first tooth while on holiday, i was panicked! i asked the tooth fairy to do a little “tinkering” with 3-$1.00 bills. she turned one into a heart, another into a ring, and the third into a tiny box to hold the tooth. she even left a little note folded into the shape of a house. the fairy explained the first tooth was worth more, but the next tooth would only be worth $1 and that she paid more because my daughter kept her tooth so shiny!!! my daughter was over the moon. since we didn’t have a special pillow with us, we put her tooth in a little plastic cup with a screw-on lid and it worked out great! i also phoned the tooth fairy and asked if we could please keep the tooth : )

  28. I lost my tooth tonight and it was so exciting so I wrote a note and made a bed for her and left out some water
    I hope she comes to collect my tooth

  29. There are some great ideas here! I wish I’d heard some of them earlier. Our kids are 8,6 and 1 and they leave their teeth in a plastic container under their pillow. They receive a note back with their tooth for “their mom’s filing purposes”. I scrapbook and wanted to put the first tooth in their book. THe rest just followed. I still have my teeth from when I was a kid (I know, I know – but some were pulled out – good for discussion and some also had fillings – again good for discussion). The tooth fairy did forget one night but just apologized and came the next night. I have wondered about the whole lying side of the discussion but I like the commenter’s post about everyday living with Christ vs having some fun. We lead towards that route. Thanks for all the info!

  30. This is a great! She really The? BEST!
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  31. I love all of the Tooth Fairy stories. My mom saved my teeth in an envelope for me. When my son started losing his teeth I felt like I had to come up with a better way to save his teeth so that when it came time to explain to him that it was me taking them from under his pillow he wouldn’t be as confused. You can see it at http://www.toothtrap.com. It’s a pretty fun way to save your child’s teeth for them. I’ve even put a fun letter from the Tooth Fairy out there that you can cut out or copy and put with whatever treasure you decide to place under their pillow.

  32. My son just lost his last baby tooth :-( sniff sniff! Ever since he lost his first tooth, our tooth fairy has always brought “special currency”, usually a foreign type of money, coins or bills, typically not worth much, but created a great start to a fun/memorable collection. He has a couple of special bills, that are silver certificates, or $2 bills…and even some Disney Dollars in the mix of his foreign currency. He still has all of them, and any of the notes that may have been left :-)


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