Smithsonian debuts tooth fairy ‘mockumentary'

As part of National Children's Dental Health Month, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History has joined with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry to help educate dentists, parents, and caregivers of children about the tooth fairy and the history of dental health.

The museum has unveiled a YouTube video that finally answers the age-old question, "What does the tooth fairy do with all of those teeth?" The "Tooth Fairy File" is a "mockumentary" aimed at parents and caregivers of young children to explain to believers what actually happens to all the teeth.

The goal is to introduce children to historical artifacts and museums and also encourage children and their adults to come to the Smithsonian, explained said John Gray, director of the museum, in a press release.

The "Tooth Fairy File" features Gray and curators, as well as security guards, public program staff, and children from the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, who serve as guides on a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum's photo history, archives, music, sports, and entertainment storage rooms, as well as other onsite locations not typically seen by the public. Clues appear in the form of various objects in the museum's collection, including a 1930s Work Projects Administration (WPA) puppet, examples of 19th century photography, mid-20th century sheet music, a tooth key from the early 1800s, and the museum's extensive coin collection.

The story is designed to lead viewers to discover the object that unites all of the clues: a fairy's cache of teeth hidden in the ceiling of a display case, confirming to children that the museum is indeed where the tooth fairy deposits the teeth she collects. The teeth, which are actually artificial and date from the mid-20th century, are part of the Smithsonian's dental collection.

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