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National Tooth Fairy Day and the cost of baby teeth

February 28th is recognized as National Tooth Fairy Day in the United States.  In the US, and  many countries across the world, the Tooth Fairy makes nightly visits to children who have lost their baby teeth leaving behind a trail of money, sweets and sometimes a bit of fairy dust, under their pillow.

However, with each generation it seems the Tooth Fairy’s tradition has become more elaborate and expensive.  Teeth that once were just tucked under a child’s pillow at night are now left in special Tooth Fairy pillows like these on Etsy.

What is the origin of the Tooth Fairy?

Throughout history people of all origins have shared traditions, stories and legends about the loss of baby teeth.

The Vikings believed that children’s teeth ( strung onto necklaces or incorporated into jewelry) had magical powers that helped them be successful in battle.

In Early Europe it was tradition to bury a child’s baby tooth.  This was meant to prevent witches or evil spirits from using the teeth for voodoo or to cast spells. After a child’s 6th tooth fell out it was customary in Northern Europe to give money.   This was referred to as a “tooth fee” and is recorded in writings as early as the Eddas.

What is the going rate for a baby tooth?

Generally the amount left tucked under a pillow is determined by several factors including: country, economic status, and peer pressure.  A 2011 study found that American children receive $2.60 per tooth on average.  Yet many families in my area leave $5-10 per tooth!

These families are particularly shocked to know that we have never celebrated the Tooth Fairy in our home. I’m not sure why.  I certainly don’t have anything against it.  

In thinking about it for this post I believe it’s because my children are so excited just to lose a tooth, that there hasn’t been a need for us to offer an outside reward.  For them, losing a tooth means they are growing up, and so far that is exciting enough.

How do you celebrate lost baby teeth in your home?  How much does the Tooth Fairy pay your children for their baby teeth?
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  1. I think the most I ever got for a tooth was a quarter!

  2. The kids know that I am the tooth fairy. So when a tooth is lost, I ask them if they would like for me to sneak into their room later or just give them their money now. :) They go back and forth on their answer.

    First tooth lost gets you $5. After that, they get $1 per tooth. To earn said dollar, however, they must put the tooth in a ziploc bag first so it makes it easier to find.

    I am a strange tooth fairy.

  3. when we were little, we got a quarter per tooth. however, one time the tooth fair forgot for a whole week's worth of nights and she finally gave me an IOU. then one night the IOU turned into 75 cents. :)

    (a part of me is sad that my parents struggled so much that even a quarter was hard to come by at times.)

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