Tooth Fairy, D.D.S.

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Five Halloweens ago, my son Jake lost his first tooth. I remember it was Halloween, because we were in costume at a Halloween party when the tooth fell out, and everyone at the party called him "Jake-o-Lantern" all night. He was so excited the next morning to wake up and find that the Tooth Fairy had visited.

Now that my kids are 13 and 11, visits with the dentist and the orthodontist are fairly common, but the Tooth Fairy hasn't flown in for a visit for a couple of years now. Back when my kids were still losing their baby teeth, our Tooth Fairy used to leave two dollars. Sometimes, as a special treat, she would also leave a note written in teeny-tiny letters, signed "T.F." (Short for her name, Tina Frances — not "Tooth Fairy," as you might imagine.)

I was reminded of all this just the other day, when a friend of mine who has younger kids mentioned that her children's Tooth Fairy leaves books and educational toys. I silently wondered if her kids were sounder sleepers than mine had been. Our Tooth Fairy had a hard enough time slipping a couple of bills and a note under the pillow without waking the kids, never mind a whole toy.

I also wondered if this Tooth Fairy might not be encroaching a bit on Santa's territory.

Tooth Fairy styles aside, the creative offerings my friend mentioned — combined with all of my family's trips to the dentist and orthodontist —did get me thinking. If Tooth Fairies could bring notes, books, and toys, maybe they could bring trinkets that would help teach kids about good dental hygiene, too.

My kids are too old for this idea — but my sister's boys are 5 and 3. Right now, they still have all their baby teeth, but within a year or two, I'll bet the Tooth Fairy will be making her first visit of many to their house. In the meantime, I'm gathering ideas for some dentist-approved trinkets she might leave.

So far, here's what's on my list:

  • Crest® Spider-Man SpinBrush – a battery-powered superhero toothbrush
  • Travel-size toothpaste tubes – just small enough for a fairy to carry
  • Twoothtimer – a tooth-brushing timer that encourages kids to brush for two full minutes (available at www.twoothtimer.com)
  • Butler Gum Crayola Flossers – help little hands floss independently

  • I think this pro-dental health idea might just catch on. In fact, if you asked them, I'd bet four out of five Tooth Fairies would recommend it.

    Has gift-giving gotten out of control? What do you think the Tooth Fairy should leave? Click the comments link below to find and share ideas. You'll automatically be entered in this week's Comment Mania Contest. We're giving away a $50 prize for the best Dream Team comment — every day this week!

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