LOWER SALEM - Sound asleep one night, with a newly lost tooth tucked under her pillow, 8-year-old Lauren Zwick said she suddenly woke up to see something surreal.
"It was the middle of the night and the tooth fairy was there, in my room," said Zwick, a second-grader at Salem-Liberty Elementary School. "She had a blue dress and pink wings and blonde hair. ... I saw her."
On Friday, many of Zwick's classmates had the same opportunity, as Ginny the Tooth Fairy visited the school, sharing tips about brushing, flossing and avoiding foods that aren't so good for your teeth.
Photo by Kate?York
Ginny the Tooth Fairy shows Salem-Liberty Elementary second- and third-graders what teeth are made of during a presentation about dental health Friday at the school.
Dressed in her own version of just what Zwick had seen, Ginny Powers, who works in her tooth fairy off-hours at Dr. Scott Eckels' dentist office in Marietta, tried to instill good dental habits in the young students.
"There's nothing like sparkly wings to keep a child's attention," she said. "Most of them truly believe, and it makes an impression."
Ginny the Tooth Fairy has visited 40 schools in the Mid-Ohio Valley over the last six years, although Friday was her first visit to Salem-Liberty.
Ginny the Tooth Fairy visited second- and third-graders at Salem-Liberty Elementary School Friday.
Ginny Powers has been visiting Mid-Ohio Valley schools for years, promoting good dental habits in their students.
"I was excited," said third-grader Jack Zalmanek, 8. "I actually do believe in the tooth fairy. I really do believe."
Zalmanek said he does his best to keep his teeth in good shape but isn't always perfect.
"I try," he said. "I swoosh (mouthwash) at home."
Ginny gave all the children new toothbrushes and a two-minute timer so they know how long to brush their teeth each time. Using Bugsy, a stuffed animal with lots of teeth and even braces, she showed them how to brush in circular motions.
"I had always just brushed up and down and side to side," said Zwick. "I'm going to try the circles now."
Regular trips to the dentist and making sure to brush their tongues and the roofs of their mouths is important, the tooth fairy told them, as is avoiding certain foods and beverages.
The carbonation in soda attacks enamel, even if the drink is sugar-free, she said, and too much sugar is one of the worst saboteurs of dental health.
"Those sugary foods are sometimes-foods, not all-the-time foods," she said.
Once the lesson is complete, Ginny said she never knows which direction the questions are going to go.
On Friday, the discussion ranged from the aerodynamics of wings to why the tooth fairy can only fly at night.
"That's the tooth fairy law," said Ginny. "If we try to fly during the day, we'll go to tooth fairy jail, and I don't want to do that."
But for some questions, there are no answers, she told the students.
"Some things you can't talk about," the tooth fairy said. "It's just magic."
It was something she didn't need to say to Zwick, after her magical late-night tooth fairy sighting.
"It looked just like Ginny," Zwick said. "It was the same one- I know it."