As a delightful rite of passage for most American children, the loss of a tooth generally means a visit from the tooth fairy. Where these midnight calls from our dentally-focused nymph friends are looked forward to with gleeful relish by those children who are at the ripe age for losing their baby teeth, parents of said kids aren’t as enthusiastic about the ritual. After all, what’s in it for them? With the average “cost” of each tooth rising steadily (parents in the US are now paying a hefty $4.00 on the average for each tooth) it seems that parents are getting caught up in playground politics where discussions of “who got how much” help feed the need to pay more and more. But because younger children apparently find the tooth fairy to be an influential and important role model, we recommend that parents use that influence and get the tooth fairy on their side. Here’s how to recruit that orally-fixated sprite to your side and get something out of the ritual:

  • Start while they are still young. Beat the clock by introducing your children to the tooth fairy long before they begin to lose their baby teeth. Because your child’s dental care habits should start even before their first birthday, incorporating the tooth fairy and her need for healthy, pretty teeth can help you get your kids to want to brush and floss daily.
  • Leave random notes. You don’t have to wait until those teeth come out for the tooth fairy to visit. Leave a note or even a small token or gift when your child has a good dentist visit or cavity-free. These reminders that dental care is important will not only make routine cleanings easier but will set up a lifetime of dental care practices that will serve them well.
  • Give gifts along with the cash. When it comes time for paying for teeth, reinforce the lessons of good dental care habits by including small tokens along with the money. A new toothbrush or flavored toothpaste makes a logical accompaniment as does a children’s book about the tooth fairy.

Remember to keep it fun and soon you too will gain from those surreptitious visits from that nocturnal, dentally-obsessed little imp we love so much.