How Much Should the Tooth Fairy Leave in a Cost-of-Living Crisis?

Leaving a tooth out for the Tooth Fairy in exchange for cash is a time-honoured tradition, but the costs of paying for newly shed teeth can mount up fast, even for magical beings. While we are in a cost-of-living crisis, it can be hard for a Tooth Fairy to justify paying out a lot of money, especially when a child still has several more teeth to lose shortly. A recent study discovered that payments from the Tooth Fairy have decreased by 10% over the past five years. The UK-based study surveyed 5000 parents and found the payments varied tremendously, from just a pound or two right up to ten pounds in the wealthier areas of London.

The survey also questioned what the money is spent on, and over a third of parents replied that their children would buy sweets, which would definitely bring a frown to the Tooth Fairy’s face. Just under a third of children spent their money on toys, while just over a fifth decided to save their money. Far fewer spent their money on books, and only 5% spent it on clothes. Sadly some children never get to experience the fun of having the Tooth Fairy visit.

As a family-oriented dental practice, we generally find that the Tooth Fairy has an important role to play in dental health. Children who are visited by the Tooth Fairy each time they lose a tooth are also more likely to take their dental health seriously. Knowing they will get a visit from the Tooth Fairy encourages these children to brush their teeth more thoroughly, thus avoiding tooth decay. Knowing about the Tooth Fairy helps build a positive view of dentistry and can help reduce childhood fears and phobias about seeing the dentist in some children.

Most children have a complete set of twenty baby teeth by age three. They begin losing these baby teeth, called milk or primary teeth, around age five or six. It can take six years or even longer before a child has their complete set of twenty-eight adult teeth firmly in place. The very last to arrive are wisdom teeth. These teeth don’t come through until at least the late teens, or during the early twenties or even later.

If you have a young child due to a visit from the Tooth Fairy shortly, you might be trying to decide how much they should leave. However, while a gift of money is traditionally given, this doesn’t need to be the case, especially if the Tooth Fairy feels strapped for cash. An alternative might be a promise of a special day out, reading a child’s favourite story, doing another fun activity together, or cooking them a nice meal. If your child is a bit older, they may be ready to understand that the Tooth Fairy might not be real, but they might want to keep the pretence going for a bit longer with the promise of a gift.