Give the Tooth Fairy sparkly, healthy teeth

My great nephew's first missing toothIt’s a celebration when a child loses a tooth to natural causes and awaits the tooth fairy, but a tragedy when a young one suffers from poor dental hygiene.

Santa Claus Meets the Tooth Fairy purposefully entertains as well as educates young readers: how appropriate that its publication month coincides with Dental Hygiene Month! As a mother, grandmother, and educator, I understand the importance of promoting good dental health and how children tend to tune out those messages from the people who love and see them on a daily basis.

Enter the fantastical: I felt having Santa and the Tooth Fairy teach a quick lesson on brushing and flossing makes this book more valuable and opens the discussion between reader and child about the importance of dental health.

As a teacher, I still remember all those young students who would come up to me with their mouths wide open and a tooth either dangling or in their hand having been recently removed.

My granddaughter's first missing toothEven though I taught 3rd and 4th graders for most of my career, they were still losing teeth and were proud of it.  They would stand in front of me proudly and await an excited response. As old as I am, I still remember the excitement of losing my baby teeth, so I proudly shared the excitement of each child with a new gap in their smile. As most teachers of young children, I even had a special tooth-sized treasure chest for a child to carry his or her tooth safely home.

I love that my granddaughter (left) lost her first baby tooth at my house this summer. We were at a Vacation Bible School celebration. She flew across the room to smile at us with a space where a tooth had been when we dropped her off at her classroom door just a few minutes before.

Look at that proud and excited expression on her face. Do you have pictures to share of that first toothless grin of one of your babies? I’d love you to share them! Please email them to me at kvanek at yahoo dot com or post them on my Facebook Fan Page.

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