A face of the small boy with missing front teeth

How Much Money Does The Tooth Fairy Leave Under The Pillow?

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Parents wear many hats: guardian, teacher, and fan, to name a few. But the mythical tooth fairy is one that requires clever cunning, elaborate storytelling and investment in your child’s financial future. Whatever tale you’ve told your child on the visual representation (we like a small, winged creature that leaves a trail of glittery fairy dust) and operation (only appears when they’re asleep) of the tooth fairy the most critical detail remains. How much does the tooth fairy pay in the 2020s? Finding that sweet spot of how much to put down is a struggle for many families. Fortunately, we have some details to help you find your lucky number.

What’s The Going Rate for Teeth?

Quite a few variables determine how much tooth fairy money little Tommy or Sally will find — such as your location, income, education, and age. The data collected from a USA Today article provides an excellent guide to finding your comfort zone.

  • 46% of parents said spare cash was the most significant factor in determining payouts.
    • Poor planning (not having smaller $1s and $5s) can lead to much higher bills and/or small gifts. Learn how to put together a tooth fairy kit so you don’t fall victim to procrastination.
  • 31% of parents said their children’s ages set the value of a tooth.
  • In 2018, the average was $3.70 per tooth, which is a decline of $0.43 from the previous year’s $4.13.
  • About 2 in 5 parents admit to paying at least $5 per tooth.
  • Often, the first tooth received a larger contribution.
  • Geography plays a factor in the payout, as kids in the:
    • West got $4.19 per tooth.
    • South got $3.91 per tooth.
    • Northeast got $3.75 per tooth.
    • Midwest got $2.97 per tooth.

How To Avoid Tooth Inflation

The last thing you want to do is cause turmoil on the playground for your kids — or any kids for that matter — as they spill the beans on the tooth fairy going too high or too low on their deposit. Based on the USA Today article, it seems the $3-$ five range creates a nice little sweet spot. But explaining that cleaner, well-brushed, and flossed teeth receive bigger payments puts a nice plot twist in the fairy tale lore.

If spending a little more per tooth yields healthier teeth, it’s probably a tactic worth implementing. And perhaps that will equate to less time at your dentist’s office and more time tiptoeing in the dark.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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