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Answering "Is the Tooth Fairy Real?"

Rachael Moshman

Every parent gets hit with a few dreaded questions at some point while raising a child; "Is the Tooth Fairy real?" is one of them. Sometimes the question pops up once children start to question Santa Claus. Suspicions about the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy usually quickly ensue, but sometimes the Tooth Fairy is called out separately and even early on. What should you do if your child begins to have doubts?

Consider What They Are Really Asking

Are they looking for the truth or for reassurance to keep believing? A good way in which to determine this is to ask questions such as, "Why do you ask?" and "What do you think?" Then ask how they feel about their responses. If it seems as though they are ready for the truth, give it to them. However, if they appear to be hoping to hold on to the story a bit longer, keep it going by simply explaining, "Well, I absolutely believe in the magic of the Tooth Fairy!"

Also, consider their age. A preschooler telling other children in the sandbox that there is no Tooth Fairy is going to cause social issues, as will a child in middle school who still believes. Sometimes it is necessary to gauge your response by the impact that continued belief will have on your child when among peers.

Be Gentle

Even if your child is pretty sure they know the truth, confirmation that Mom and Dad are really the Tooth Fairy is still rattling. Explain that it is a tradition that parents and children have been perpetuating for decades. Remind them of how much fun they had carefully putting their tooth under the pillow and excitedly waking up the next morning to find their prize. Tell them that parents do it because they love seeing their child's joy.

Be Prepared for Their Response

Some children laugh when they find out that their parents are the Tooth Fairy. The thought of parents waiting up and then sneaking into one's room to take a tooth from under a pillow and to leave a dollar in its place is a bit silly, after all. Other kids cry and grieve an innocent piece of childhood lost. Still others get angry that they were misled.

Once your child finds out the truth, you should determine together how it should be handled going forward. Explain that it is important that the truth be kept secret so that younger siblings or other children who still believe can continue to have fun. The magic does not have to end with "Is the Tooth Fairy real?" Your child may want to keep pretending so that those dollar bills under the pillow keep flowing.

Learn more about children's teeth in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

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