How Rich is Your Family’s Tooth Fairy?  

Tips for parents when determining the going rate for teeth from the Tooth Fairy.

What’s the value of a lost tooth at your house – and have you ever forked over a quarter only to hear that another kid at school got $5, $10, $20 or more? As far as kids know, the Tooth Fairy decides what to hand over, but it’s a troubling issue for parents. Reward that missed tooth with too paltry a sum and you may not know the next one is missing until you notice the gap. Pay extravagantly and you’ll have to keep handing over the cash for each new tooth, which adds up fast.

If you have more than one child, your Tooth Fairy costs can skyrocket as each youngster begins to lose teeth. So, how can you determine how much is “enough” and your limit for “too much”? It depends on your comfort level, the going rate in your community and even the amount of cash you can afford to hand over when a wiggly tooth becomes a missing tooth. Consider the following as you decide the going rate for teeth in your home:

Not Too Small: Undervaluing teeth sends a message; you can use the Tooth Fairy not only to reward your child but to encourage good dental hygiene. She leaves money because she is so thrilled with the beautiful, shiny teeth your child has cared for so well; leave too little and your child may think their teeth are not important or well cared for enough to matter.

Not Too Big: Unless you want every parent in your neighborhood or classroom to resent you, don’t overdo it. News travels fast on the playground, and handing over a $20 every time your kid loses a tooth when the going rate for your town is a dollar or two is a recipe for disaster and potentially hurt feelings.

Just Right: Make the loss of a tooth special without overspending. Finding out the going rate in your own town could be as easy as asking around. The answers could surprise you; according to apps run by Colgate and Visa, a tooth goes for about $1 in a higher income area – and almost $3 in a lower income area. Your Boise or Treasure Valley dentists could be able to give you an idea of the going rate in your town.

You can make the experience special without handing over excess cash; this can convey the importance of caring for teeth and allow the Tooth Fairy to show her delight with the tooth without missing the mark on the money side. Consider one or more of the following instead of or in addition to a cash payment to make the Tooth Fairy’s visit special:

  • A sprinkle of glitter on the pillow or windowsill to show she was there
  • A small toy or novelty item (think dollar store, not toy store)
  • Sugar free gum or other tooth friendly treats
  • A new toothbrush with a favorite character
  • A personalized tooth fairy pillow to make the tooth easy to find

Use the Tooth Fairy to delight your child, compliment the excellent care they are giving their teeth and to reinforce the value of good dental care. Your kids will be excited to leave their lost teeth for the tooth fairy each time they shed a baby tooth – and you’ll feel great knowing you made a magical memory your child will treasure for years to come.


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