SURVEY SAYS: Tooth Fairy Experiences

I recently read that the average amount the tooth fairy left American children last year was $3.40, but it ranged from $1.00 to $20.00.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “Did you partake in the tooth fairy or other tooth-loss tradition when you were a child, and if so, how much did you get? If you have children, do they get more than you did?”

Ninety-six percent of responding readers said they did partake in a tooth fairy or similar tradition, while 4% did not. All of those who did reported that they received $1.00 or less per tooth.

Among respondents who have children, 95% indicated they do/did partake in a tooth-fairy or similar exchange for teeth, and 5% do/did not. Those who participate(d) in a tooth exchange recognized inflation and were more generous than their “tooth fairies.” Thirty-two percent said their children receive(d) $1.00 or less, while 63% said their children receive(d) between $1.00 and $5.00. Three percent reported giving $5.00 to $10.00 per tooth, and 2% reported giving more than $10.00.

In comments submitted, there were tips— “I like the idea of encouraging good dental hygiene by planting the seed in the mind of the child that the tooth fairy pays more for teeth in good condition”— and funny stories—“My son tried to catch the tooth fairy recently. He put his tooth in a baggie and tied a bell to the baggie so it would wake him when it was removed from under his pillow.” Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said, “Must be it’s more [now] than in my day. I left my upper plate out and my grandson said I’d be getting rich.”

Thank you to all who participated in the survey!


Pretty sure I got a nickel at first, gradually moving up to a quarter, which could buy 5 candy bars, packs of gum, or 25 pieces of penny candy. Quite a treat for youngster back in my day!

When the tooth fairy was late.... the amount of money went up...

I do not have kids, but if I did, I would partake and I would leave between $1-$5.

Considering it was over 50 years ago, I think a dime was a pretty good haul. 🙂

My wife and I have vastly different ideas about a fair amount. She thinks $2 should be the minimum - I prefer not to adjust for inflation from my days and see $1 as a maximum.

One of my students in first grade brought a $50 bill to class and said he got it for losing his first tooth. I paid him another dollar not to let my kids know. Way too Excessive!

I like the idea of encouraging good dental hygiene by planting the seed in the mind of the child that the tooth fairy pays more for teeth in good condition.

My baby teeth roots never dissolved. I had to have them individually pulled as permanent ones came in. Then, in the 8th grade, I had to have 8 pulled at once plus a permanent one to get ready for braces. I was left with four top front, four bottom front, and four molars. (not all!). I never put them under the pillow for the tooth fairy. I was too traumatized! I think the tooth fairy owes me $50 per tooth plus interest for the inconvenience!!

Growing up I got a quarter per tooth. I feel so cheated!

Our daughter would get so excited, she would write notes to the TF & leave small gifts for her, in appreciation! The gifts were "little girl treasures" - a pretty rock, a paper umbrella, a collection of sequins. Of course, the TF was obliged to leave notes in response & keeps the little gifts with her stores of teeth. 🙂

Verbatim (cont.) 

I remember getting a quarter (25 cents). With my kids, it was a dollar. When I suddenly became a divorced dad with 3 kids aged 6 and under (full-time custody), the "tooth fairy" often became forgetful. When my child would say, "Hey, no money," I (I mean, the tooth fairy) would scramble to put it under another child's pillow, then help "find" it. "Silly Tooth Fairy," we would conclude...

I got a shiny new quarter. My kids get a dollar and so I have a stash of crisp ones hidden for tooth emergencies that I keep away from my Lotto-addicted husband.

Even when I got the age when I knew the tooth fairy didn't exist, I still placed a tooth under my pillow and tried to negotiate the price with my Mom. She found it quite amusing; still only got 50 cents.

My siblings and I received 10 cents per tooth. We were ecstatic because we could turn around and spend the 10 cents on penny candy at the local candy store!

I am pretty sure when I was a kid, I got about a $.25 (a quarter) and it was awesome, enough to buy some nice candy. Our Children get a $1, enough to buy some nice candy.

Timely survey. My granddaughter just lost her 2nd tooth while I was visiting this weekend.

Sometimes I left a .50 cents or $1. Later I would leave a book or a small surprise.

Could you ask if we have children?

Inflation on teeth has far outpaced education!!!

My children are required to put 20% into their 529 savings plan, 20% into their retirement plan, 7.65% to FICA (Family Income for Children's Activities tax). I will not charge them for rent until they have all of their permanent teeth. Just kidding!

Verbatim (cont.) 

Nothing worse than forgetting and one parent distracts the kids while the other exchanges the tooth for cash!

I got 25 cents, my kids $1 and my grandkids get $10 - inflation seems higher for teeth

Getting free money for getting older did not prepare me for crushing student debt.

The tooth fairy came to my house in the 60's, a quarter was what I remember. But once we understood there was no "Santa Clause", there were also no more tooth fairy exchanges. When my daughter started to benefit from the tooth fairy exchange in the 90's, the going rate was a dollar. Susan B Anthony Dollars seemed cool at the time so the tooth fairy left 2 or 3 so that "mom" could share in the excitement the next day.

We got a quarter when we lost a tooth, which seemed like a lot back in the 50's. Suppose that is equal to about $5 now.

$20 dollars?! Lucky the tooth fairy didn't get robbed!

My kids have friends that get $20 per tooth. So they sometimes feel ripped off at $5. I remind them that I got a mere $0.50 when I was a kid and they are a little more thankful for their $5.

A nickel per tooth.

My teeth fetched silver dollars. My kids' teeth fetch gold dollars, assuming the tooth fairy has them available. She has left a $5 on occasion.

I would love to know how this tradition got started. I only got 25 cents but that was back in the 50's. My kids got a dollar.

Verbatim (cont.) 

My son tried to catch the tooth fairy recently. He put his tooth in a baggie and tied a bell to the baggie so it would wake him when it was removed from under his pillow. I'm glad he's a heavy sleeper. 🙂

I usually received 25 cents for each lost tooth, but that bought at least 2 candy bars to help decay the remainder of my baby teeth.

As kids, we always received $.50 piece. It was very exciting since we never saw them except at that time!

Like the rest of us, inflation affects the tooth fairy. When I was little, I got $0.10/tooth. My kids got $0.25-0.50/tooth. My grandchildren get $1/tooth. The real question is: What to do with the teeth collected by the tooth fairy?

Since I am in my 50s, I received a quarter for my teeth. I gave my children a $1 in the 80s. That was 4 times more than I received. Wow, inflation! I would hate to think what my grandchildren will cost!

It was a long time ago. My children are almost 40.

My father is a retired dentist but he still had us siblings believing in the tooth fairy. Payment was usually around a quarter - a lot of money for a kid back then. I carried on the tradition with my children with usually a dollar and sometimes a book if the tooth was really difficult to get out.

I got a quarter 60 years ago. My kids got $1.00 30 years ago. I guess my grandchildren will get the benefit of inflation.

Good memories for both child and parent.

Of course the 10 cents I got was enough to buy two candy bars back in the early 1960's. When my girls were losing their teeth in the early 90's, those same two candy bars cost $1.50. Anyone who gives their kids a particular amount because "that's what they got" really doesn't understand inflation.


Verbatim (cont.) 

I grew up in the 60's, so a quarter for a tooth was fine with me! On the other hand, a friend of mine that's now my age and has little kids had a child lose a tooth and that night had only $20 in her wallet, so left $20 under the pillow! That did not set a good precedent! I would have told her the tooth fairy was busy and maybe would come tomorrow night!

With a quarter I could get a five cent candy bar but had to give my dad fifteen cents for savings. I did the same with my children and we are all great savers!

Must be it's more than in my day. I left my upper plate out and my grandson said I'd be getting rich.

While the tooth fairy only delivered my child $1.00 it was made special by delivering it in the form of the $1.00 coin.

My 8 month old only has 1 tooth. We're not ready to sell it off yet!

If I remember correctly, we received a dime, but I'm pretty sure the tooth fairy missed several opportunities!


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.