How Much Did the Tooth Fairy Pay You for Your Teeth?

Based on prorated data from this 2015 survey of parents, most tooth fairies in 2017 pay about $5 per tooth. Kids have 20 baby teeth, so over the span of a few years, they’re netting about $100.

Back in the late ’80s, I was getting $1 per tooth at best. So my net revenue was about $20.

This got me thinking that I made a crucial mistake when I was a kid: I sold my teeth to the tooth fairy the same night that they fell out. I was thinking too much about immediate dividends instead of a long-term payout.

Clearly, I should have locked those teeth in a safe-deposit box to keep them from the tiny opportunistic fingers of the tooth fairy. If I put those same 20 teeth under my pillow today, I’d wake up with a crisp $100 bill under my pillow (or lots of $5s).

That’s a 500% return on investment after only 25 years. I don’t know much about the market volatility of teeth, but that seems like a pretty good rate.

If I ever have kids, I’ll share this life lesson with them so they don’t repeat the mistakes of my youth.

How much did the tooth fairy pay for your teeth? If you have kids now, does the tooth fairy pay them more?


10 Responses to “How Much Did the Tooth Fairy Pay You for Your Teeth?”

  1. Chris Broadbent says:

    It seems not all faeries are equally generous. My kids get $1 a tooth, 1/5 the going rate. I got $0.25, 1/4 the then rate. Seems like if i’d taken your advice, I might not have outpaced inflation. 🙂

  2. Stephen says:

    20p a tooth for mine.

  3. Angela Hickman says:

    My 11yo had two consecutive visits from the tooth fairy this week. The first was your standard fare… A gold $1 coin, a cute note, and her room was glitter-bombed with fairy dust. The next night though, another tooth had come like, halfway out on its own and gotten stuck in this painful position and there were a couple of (possibly ill-thought out) plans to extract said tooth with floss and then finally her dad just pulled the thing the rest of the way out. It was traumatic for everyone. That night the tooth fairy seemed to think she deserved a bonus coin for losing two teeth back-to-back, and one in such an unpleasant manner… So for maybe the 2nd time ever she got TWO gold $1 coins, a note, and her room glitter-bombed (again). Little brother (8yo) has only ever lost one tooth and he waited and waited and waited for that first tooth fairy visit but he got 2 gold coins on his first time! So I guess the short answer is our tooth fairy *usually* pays $1 but *sometimes*, under special circumstances, gives a bonus 😉

  4. Bill Lasek says:

    Jaime whatba wonderfylly off the wall post. Truth be told my tooth fairy gave me 0.25 for the first 10 or so, then got 0.50 cents for the next few, and 1.00 in coins for the last few. Inflation was happening right underneath my eyes lol.

    Our kid hasnt lost any teeth yet (still waiting till the due date) but inwould think wed do something like Angela Hickman did, love the glitterbomb idea lol

  5. Joseph E. Pilkus III says:

    So, at a shade over 10 years your senior, I remember receiving coins…so I’ll say .25-.50/tooth. Flash forward to a point in time when I was placing cash under my daughter’s pillow and a freshly extracted tooth yielded hera crisp $1!

  6. Katie says:

    $5 for the first tooth and $1 for every tooth thereafter for Charlotte.

    The Tooth Fairy seems quite inconsistent from child to child. I hope they don’t compare notes too often!

  7. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    I love hearing about all of these different types of tooth fairies! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  8. Nick H says:

    Funny stuff Jamie! I used to get the standard $1 when I was a kid as well. We have only had one tooth fairy visit in the our house thus far and she left a $2 bill for Mackenzie. We haven’t decided if we are going to stick with the $2 bill or go down to $1 for the rest of her tooth. My grandma used to always give us grand kids $2 bills for our birthdays so I have a stockpile of them. Of course I don’t have 60 of them (3 kids x 20 teeth) so probably will have to go down to $1 for the rest.

  9. Nik Stein says:

    Why regret the past? You have a whole mouth full of teeth that are even bigger so they should be worth more. CASH IN NOW before the bottom falls out of the tooth market!

    Back 30 or so years ago I was getting $1/tooth. My kids are getting $1/tooth as well. My oldest lost his 1st tooth when he was spending the night at his grandparents. They gave him $20 for it. I wasn’t going to let them set the $/tooth that high so we told him it was the introductory rate and that the tooth fairy would probably normalize it near the $1 mark. My kid thinks I must be some sort of dental finance wizard because that’s exactly where it ended up. The 2nd kid hasn’t lost his 1st but when he does he’ll get $20 for it and $1 per after that.

  10. foodcravejas says:

    I never had a tooth fairy visit. I guess when I’m much older I can put a whole denture under my pillow and get some change.

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