What should you say when your child asks you, “Is the tooth fairy real?” Should you try to keep the idea of this magnificent being who rewards children for their baby teeth alive, or should you admit that it was you who slipped that silver dollar under the pillow? What you decide as a parent is up to you, but keep these tips in mind when trying to answer the tooth fairy question.

Focus on Her Meaning

Why have parents kept the idea of the tooth fairy alive, generation after generation? Because she has a significant meaning. She is depicted as a benevolent being who adores young children and is grateful for those healthy, white baby teeth. She makes the ordeal of losing all your baby teeth fun and magical. The idea that she will come and offer a reward for lost teeth encourages young kids to pay attention to their oral health.

If you tell your children that the tooth fairy does not exist, then try to keep the inspiration that she provides alive. Talk to them about how well you take care of your teeth as an adult. Things like brushing and flossing as a family and getting fun, new dental tools like a Colgate Dora the Explorer toothbrush and toothpaste can make brushing more exciting. If you choose to continue the myth, then when the tooth fairy question comes up, take the opportunity to emphasize good oral hygiene to keep teeth strong and healthy.

Let Your Child Guide You

When your child asks, “Is the tooth fairy real?” answer with a question. What does he believe? By talking with your child you can decide if he is ready for the truth or if he still wants to hold onto the tooth fairy idea. He will let you know what he wants to believe.

Rewarding Your Child

The whole idea behind the tooth fairy is to make kids feel good about losing a tooth. What can you do as a parent to reward your child without the help of this tooth-loving character? How can you celebrate each lost tooth?

Make losing baby teeth just as magical as the tooth fairy does. Reward your child with a new book, a new toothbrush, their favorite dinner or a trip out for ice cream. As adult teeth come in, talk about growing up and being responsible for oral health with good brushing and flossing habits and regular dental visits. Learn more about oral health for kids in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

For children, losing baby teeth is a rite of passage. It is about growing up and learning how to take great care of the teeth that they will have for the rest of their lives. Make it special and meaningful whether the tooth fairy is around or not.

Tips for Being the TOOTH FAIRY

Tooth fairy notes – reinforcing the importance of dental care routines by using notes written by the tooth fairy is a fun way to remind kids to brush and floss. Printable tooth fairy receipts and note cards are available online, or you can design your own.

Tooth fairy pillows – think about getting or making a special tooth pillow with a pocket for the tooth. That way, the “tooth fairy” knows just where to find it without searching underneath your child’s head.

Consider skipping the cash – while an 8- or 9-year-old may be excited about money, a younger child will probably not understand the value of money and might be happier with a special treat.

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