For generations, the Tooth Fairy has left a small gift for children who tuck fallen baby teeth under their pil-lows. This tradition can be a great time to teach kids more about taking care of their teeth. Here are five fun and inexpensive ways for families to welcome this magical spirit:
1. A receipt for your child’s tooth: Leave this document in your child’s bedroom to mark the visit. Include your child’s name, the date, a description of the tooth and the reward, plus a note such as “Thank you for this lovely tooth! I can see that you are brushing every day. Keep up the good work!”
2. A tooth fairy dish: As an alternative to the under-the-pillow trick, help your child choose or create a spe-cial dish to hold teeth. Visit a thrift shop or housewares store to find one or paint your own at a ceramics stu-dio.
3. A keepsake book: Turn a blank notebook into a lasting record of the Tooth Fairy’s visits. Have your child choose one and decorate it with your child’s name, hometown and any other details he or she wants the Tooth Fairy to know. Have your child write the Tooth Fairy a note every time he or she loses a tooth. When you leave your child’s gift, record the date and add a note from the Tooth Fairy.
4. A bright-smile calendar: Leave a brushing calendar in your child’s room as an extra gift from the Tooth Fairy. You can make it reusable by laminating it at an office-supply store and provide a colorful dry-erase marker for your child to record each time he or she brushes, flosses, or visits the dentist.
5. A Tooth Fairy “Smilestone” scrapbook page: Create an album of “smilestones” to memorialize the Tooth Fairy’s visits. Buy a small album, make one together with colored paper, stickers and other supplies, or add a scrapbook page to your baby book. Talk about the experience of losing a tooth and capture memories in the pages of the album. Leave it out in your child’s bedroom for the Tooth Fairy to enjoy and consider sharing with the dentist at your next checkup.
Visit the American Dental Association at www.mouthhealthykids.org/toothfairy to download free scrapbook pages, toothbrushing calendar and Tooth Fairy receipt.