Tooth fairy tales

Readers tell us how they keep the myth alive

Reader poll This month we asked readers what happens when their kids lose a tooth. Here is what they said:

After the fairy leaves, what should we do with our kids’ baby teeth? Put them in a pillbox?

A more useful choice is to send them to the Radiation and Public Health Project (, an organization gathering data on strontium-90 levels in water and food. This cancer-causing element builds up in our bodies over time, so one of the best ways to collect data is to analyze baby teeth.

When our daughter’s first tooth became loose, we asked if it would be OK if the tooth fairy worked with a special doctor who studies teeth. She said sure. The fairy left a gift and a thank-you note on behalf of the doctor. It was a nice way to mix make-believe and science.

Jeff Balch, dad of Maple Conn, 6,  and Zephyr Balch, 4, Evanston

Editor’s note: A longer version of this story ran in the Dawes School (District 65) newsletter.

As a single mother, I have more than once failed at my tooth fairy duties. So our family has a non-traditional fairy. He works second shift and comes during breakfast. We know he is male because he leaves big boot prints instead of dainty ballet slipper prints. And he always knocks something over. Once he learns to be neater, he will be promoted to the coveted overnight shift.

Peggy Koutas, mom of Shelby, 13, Taylor, 11, and Sarah, 8, Fox Lake

When my daughter lost her first tooth, we put it in a fancy goblet. The water had turned blue with sparkles. The tooth fairy also left a note: "Don’t forget to leave your tooth under your pillow, I’ll be back tonight." That night the tooth fairy left money and another note: "Thank you for your beautiful tooth. We will definitely use it in Fairyland where we make everything with teeth. ... But we only use clean sparkly teeth so make sure you always brush them."

Diana La Piana, mom of Lexi, 5, Chicago

Our daughter just lost her first tooth. Iris had heard about a tooth fairy at school and had lots of ideas of what one might look like: red hair and purple eyes, sparkly wand. Instead of money, the fairy left a book. Iris figured books must be a "new thing." She hopes for art supplies next.

Susie Donohue, mom of Iris, 6,  and Simon, 4, Oak Park

When my daughter started losing her teeth, I found two great books on the subject:

Dear Tooth Fairy by Alan Durant is about a young girl who loses a tooth and writes the tooth fairy.

In Dad, Are You the Tooth Fairy by Jason Alexander, a father grapples with how to respond to this question. His answer is a beautiful tale.

Lisa Brody, mom of Jared, 10,  Jenna, 7, and Noah, 2½, Skokie

When my son and daughter each lost their first tooth, the tooth fairy left a $1 coin and a book. Every tooth after that was replaced with an intricately folded dollar bill. At age 6, my daughter wrote the tooth fairy. Having her questions answered in very tiny printed letters convinced her of the tooth fairy’s magical powers.

Rebecca King, mom of Hannah, 9,  and Adam, 12, Lansing

Kids Eat Chicago

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