Why Is Your Child Scared of the Tooth Fairy?

Posted on: 28 September 2016

While most kids would happily remove their own teeth early to speed up a visit from the Tooth Fairy, some kids just aren't happy with the whole pay-for-a-tooth concept. Why are some kids scared of the Tooth Fairy and what can you do about it?

Typical Tooth Fairy Fears

Some kids are simply frightened by the whole Tooth Fairy concept. For example, your child may not like the idea that a supernatural being can come into their bedroom while they are asleep. Far from seeing the Tooth Fairy as a benevolent being, some kids feel much the same way about this fairy as they would about an intruder in your home. Similarly, your child might not understand why anyone would collect old teeth, doesn't want to think about what they are used for and have doubts about why the Tooth Fairy does her job.

Fear of strangers and their motives may be common fears for children who are phobic about the Tooth Fairy. If your child has these kinds of worries, you can usually make them feel better by taking a common sense approach. For example, you can tell your child that you will tell the Tooth Fairy to pick up teeth from another part of the house or to skip visiting your home completely. Remember that you can always take over the treat part yourself. While this approach may work with common anxieties, it may not work if your child's Tooth Fairy fears are a front for other worries.

Losing Teeth Fears

Younger kids may not recognise their real fears and may project them on to other things. For example, if your child hasn't lost any teeth yet or has had a bad experience when they lost a tooth, they may start to say that they don't want the Tooth Fairy to come. This statement may be hiding deeper worries about losing teeth.

For example, some kids get freaked out if baby teeth bleed when they brush or may worry about food making a tooth more wobbly. These fears may affect your child's eating habits and attitude towards dental hygiene and care. For example, your child may stop eating on the side of the mouth where the tooth is or may not eat foods that they think will make the tooth looser. In some cases, your child may skip brushing around a wobbly tooth to avoid making it bleed, leaving an area of their mouth uncleaned and at a higher risk of developing dental problems.

Dealing with these fears may be trickier than managing a simple fear of the Tooth Fairy; however, it may help to try the following tips.

Explain the baby-adult teeth process clearly to your child. Make the point that everything they are experiencing is natural. Don't brush away their fears; remember that these are natural worries for some kids.

If your child is worried about bleeding when they brush, explain that there isn't actually that much blood coming out. Tell them that a tiny bit of blood looks a lot worse because it is mixed with their spit. If your child isn't brushing that well, it may help if you take over brushing for a while or help them out in that area.

If your child won't eat anything chewy or hard that might dislodge a wobbly tooth, give them softer foods for a while.

If you can't allay your child's fears, it's worth enlisting the help of your dentist. Sometimes professional reassurance can get through when parental reassurance can't. Your dentist may also be able to give your child tips on how to manage wobbly teeth and make them come out more easily.