SURVEY SAYS: Tooth Fairy Payouts

Reviewing findings from a recent poll, I was shocked to learn that the average amount a child gets for losing a tooth is almost $5.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, ‘How much did you get from the Tooth Fairy when you lost a tooth?” And, “If you’re a parent, how much do/did you give to your children for losing a tooth?”

I first apologize that “From one penny to a dollar,” was left out of the choices for the second question the first half of the day. So, that affects responses.

Asked when they were a child, how much did the Tooth Fairy leave them when they lost a tooth, 5.4% of readers said nothing, 92.7% chose ‘From one penny to a dollar,’ and 1.8% of readers said they received more than a dollar up to three dollars.

For the parents, the majority (73.5%) said they gave their child/children more than a dollar up to three dollars, and 8.8% chose ‘From one penny to one dollar’. ‘Nothing’ and ‘More than five dollars’ were each selected by 2.9% of responding readers, and ‘More than three dollars up to five dollars’ and ‘I give other items besides money’ were each chosen by 5.9% of readers.

In verbatim comments, several readers offered up traditions or requirements for payouts that were interesting. It was also noted that a smaller amount back in the day would buy much more than it would now; hence the reason payouts have gotten bigger. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “We gave a 2 dollar bill, because that is where they come from, the tooth fairy.” 

Thanks to all who participated in the survey!


My kids' Tooth Fairy payouts are incentive-based. A normal, painless loss would be $5. But the time my 2-year-old daughter got tired of watching her 7-year old brother wiggling his very loose tooth for days and decided to kick it out his mouth (while he was laying on the floor watching TV)... That tooth was worth $50 to the Fairy.

My kids are 8 and 5. They each got $5 when they lost their first tooth, but only $1 for each thereafter. As with all money they receive as gifts, half has to be saved and they can do what they want with the other half BUT if they save any portion of the other half, we match the savings. My oldest generally saves half of the 'free' half as well (75%) total so that, with the match, he gets 100% to his savings and still has 25% to spend!

When I started losing teeth, 10 cents was the going rate. That bought 2 bags of M&Ms. My kids received the equivalent, which was $1 per tooth.

When my now 21 yr old son lost teeth he received a dollar (not one of the options above) in various coin denominations. Almost $7 per tooth in the West? Hm. Could this give kids ideas about selling body parts?

Teeth are expensive. We pay insurance and a dentist to try and keep our kids teeth healthy and clean. When we don't succeed, we have to make the tooth fairy payment as well. What a racket!

If I had children, I probably wouldn't continue the tooth fairy tradition. I don't see the point.

I figure my kids each have 20 baby teeth to lose. If I gave them $5 per tooth, that's $100 the Tooth Fairy has to pay to each kid. I'd rather take the $200 and have a great family vacation day!

You don't have an option above in #2 for "one penny to a dollar". I give my son a gold dollar coin, so it is more special than just a regular dollar bill. I was also shocked by the $5 average in the article. Seems like a lot for a tooth. Once he lost two at the same time and he got a $2 bill, again so it is more special than just a regular dollar.

Survey should have asked the responders to indicate their age, either in years or range of years. It is likely that this would have had a substantial impact on the results due to inflationary factors.

In the early 60s, I received a dime from the Tooth Fairy. Fast forward to the early 90s, we gave our kids $1.

We were given a savings bond stamp (worth about 10 cents) to put in our book so that we could buy a savings bond.

It's not about the money, it's about the fun and magic of seeing joy and amazement on your child's face.

On one occasion the Tooth Fairy fell asleep before the tooth exchange. She was quite generous the next night after finding a note under the pillow asking what happened the previous night. The Tooth Fairy never again fell asleep before making the exchange, in fact she still visited years later when wisdom teeth were neatly placed under the pillow of a high school senior.

I got 25 cents

Your answers are for a much younger audience, the choices should have started with one penny to one dime (I recvd 10 cents in the 60s!) and then 11 cents to a quarter, etc.

You're not giving me the option to say I gave my kids from one penny to a dollar! Why would I have given them more than a buck for a tooth?

Verbatim (cont.)

Our tooth fairy is relatively cheap, which seemed appropriate when the first tooth came out in Kindergarten but maybe a little miserly now that our 11 year old is losing molars. I guess our child will have to find another way to make a living.

The Tooth Who?

the fairy pays double if it misses your house on the first night because it is so busy collecting at all the other houses.

I must be really cheap. You didn't give the one penny to a dollar option for now. I got 25 cents, I give my children a dollar. However, the orthodontist set a precedent by telling my daughter the tooth fairy pays twice as much for pulled teeth. Considering she has had to have four of the eight teeth she has lost pulled, she's making out like a bandit. But then again, this is the girl who leaves treats for the tooth fairy - teeny tiny ones on a little table in a play house. So she probably deserves it.

Back when I was getting 50 cents per tooth, that would buy 2 gallons of gas. (Not that I was buying gas at that age.) With that comparison, $5 now might be pretty similar.

I received silver dollars for teeth, my kids receive gold dollars.

I only had one tooth fall out on its own. My roots never dissolved. I don't recall the Tooth Fairy visiting me for it. The rest of my baby teeth (and one permanent) I had to have pulled all at once, in middle school, as my mouth was getting quite crowded. I ended up with only my top four, bottom four, and four molars - all permanent teeth - when all was said and done. Not very fun. But I do have all four wisdom teeth that came in nicely, albeit very painful when they did come in. I now know why babies cry when their teeth come in!

I give my kids a buck, and to my astonishment, when they wake up in the morning and find it, all I hear is a big sigh and "that's it!?" Times sure have changed.

A shiny dime was the payout. Perhaps your next trivia can be how paying for teeth got started.

I figure a dollar is pretty good. I think it teaches some skills for saving and spending.

It was only a quarter, but back then it was all silver.

I may be showing my age but we were very excited when the tooth fairy payments went from a dime to a quarter.

We gave a 2 dollar bill, because that is where they come from, the tooth fairy.

I got a quarter but it seems my parents should have been saving those teeth. The big news today seems to be preserving them for stem cells in case of future disease. How amazing is that!

I got $0.25 from the tooth fairy, but that was over 50 years ago. When I went to the store a dollar bought a loaf of bread, half gallon of milk and I got to keep the change for a few penny candies

When our oldest lost his first tooth in 1996, he commented that he hoped the tooth fairy brought him "one of each"...a penny, nickel, dime and quarter. Thus the tradition that all of our children had to follow.


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