3 Creative Alternatives To The Tooth Fairy

The first lost tooth is a big milestone in your child's life. Not every child wants to turn around and hand that tooth to the fabled Tooth Fairy. Some children are simply possessive of their teeth, while others find the idea of a glittery intruder rifling through their bed at night kind of scary. And some parents aren't big fans of the tooth fairy, either – after all, eventually you're going to have to explain who's really behind that milk tooth money, and you may want to avoid that letdown. If the Tooth Fairy isn't right for your family, but you still want to celebrate that milestone, take a look at some creative alternatives that may work for you.

Save The Tooth

If your child is particularly protective of the lost tooth and isn't interested in giving it up, why not let them save it as a souvenir? It's normal for your child not to want to give up a tooth even after it falls out – after all, as far as your child can remember, they've had that tooth for their whole life. That may be why keeping the lost tooth is common practice for children in some countries, like Lithuania.

There's no reason why you can't repurpose one of those little boxes meant to hold teeth for the Tooth Fairy – instead of putting it under your child's pillow and taking it away, just leave it on their desk or dresser so that they can peek at it whenever they like. Or, you and your child can decorate a jewelry box or other small container together and use it to store baby teeth.

Create A Ritual For The Tooth

In many cultures, children neither save their teeth nor give them to the tooth fairy – instead, they perform a ritual with them, usually meant to encourage the speedy growth of strong new teeth. For example, children in Botswana and Taiwan throw their teeth on the roof and ask the moon for a new tooth. Similarly, many Middle Eastern children throw their teeth toward the sun, while asking for a brighter smile.

In other countries, children leave their teeth in the hiding places of small but notoriously toothy animals, like rats, squirrels, and beavers, in the hopes that the new tooth that grows in will be similarly strong. Still other children leave their teeth for birds to carry away. You can adopt one of these rituals for your own family, if you like, or create a new ritual for your own. Consider having your child toss a tooth in a nearby body of water while making a wish, or burying it in the garden to say good-bye to it.

Trade In The Tooth

Even if you don't want to invite the Tooth Fairy into your home, that doesn't mean that you can't give your child a quarter in exchange for the tooth yourself. Or, if you don't want to hand out cash every time your child loses a tooth, you can always let them exchange the tooth for something else valuable and collectible instead.

Do you have a stash of foreign coins that you can't spend? Help your child start a coin collection by giving them a different foreign coin for each tooth. Or keep a stash of small toys or favorite treats in your closet or cupboard to hand out whenever your child loses a new tooth.

One more thing that you can do is schedule a dental checkup for your child when you begin to notice loose teeth. While the loose teeth themselves usually don't require attention from the dentist, it's a good idea to have your dentist from a site like http://www.claremontdentalinstitute.com check to make sure that the new teeth are growing in properly.