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Tooth Fairy affected by Inflation?

Posted in News

How much money do you slip under your child’s pillow in the name of the Tooth Fairy? Most of us probably remember the days of finding a quarter or a half-dollar under our pillow from that allusive winged benefactor.  Well, according to a number of recent studies and experts, the days of a quarter are long gone. The Tooth Fairy has found the price of teeth drastically inflated, particularly in the last three years.  A study conducted by Visa, found the national average that parents pay to be $3.70 per tooth, which is a spike of 23% in the last year and 42% in two years.  Even more shocking, 6% of parents reported tucking $20+ a tooth under the pillow and 2% lavished $50 or more (Taylor, 2013). One might ask, what is driving this spike in the price of baby teeth.  Why are America’s parents giving out more money to their child than in prior years?  Visa’s senior Director of Global Financial Education Jason Alderman, feels the rise is due to a combination of factors stating, “One, is a reflection of an improving economy, and that parents feel they can afford to be generous in small areas.”  Alderman goes on to describe the main factor as “parental angst”.  It seems 21st century parents are finding it harder than ever to say “no” to their children (Taylor, 2013).  While this tooth inflation may be seen in part as an economic indicator, others argue it is a societal indicator much in line with Alderman’s “parental angst” factor.  Neale Godfrey, chair of the Children’s Financial Network and author, views the larger dollar amount as the result of parental guilt. He feels that we, as 21st century parents, have much less time to invest in our children than let’s say our parent did for us; therefore, feeling guilty, we are substituting time with money (Taylor, 2013).  Another trend found, is that parents and children are under peer pressure. Consumer Psychologist and Professor at Golden Gate University Kit Yarrow, noted how parents do not want their kids to feel like their teeth are worth less than school mates’ teeth; therefore it is a case of trying to beat the Jones to keep face and escape ridicule (Pisani, 2013). Who knew something as simple as a make-believe fairy could cause such a ruckus in our society and pocket book?  

For those of you in the Great Plains region, you might be questioning the reality of these statistics. While the stats are there, you might be able to breathe a little easier.  It is important to note that the extreme dollar amounts noted in recent studies and by experts were indicated to be in the eastern and north-eastern portion of the United States.  However, the “trend” of bestowing a quarter or half-dollar to your young child for their baby tooth is likely not “cool” across the nation.  To our children, our own stories’ of the Tooth Fairy sneaking coins under our pillow will resemble such hard time tales of our parents and grandparents.  

So my question to you is: Have you had to decide lately how much the Tooth Fairy should payout?  What factors effected your decision and how much money did you end-up giving?


Pisani, J. (2013, August 30). Tooth Fairy Inflation: Price of a Tooth Nears $4. Retrieved Sept 5, 2013, from

Taylor, C. (2013, August). $50 per tooth?! Tooth Fairy inflation gone wild. Retrieved Sept 5, 2013, from


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My hygienist was very nice and so was the doctor. - Jeff W.