Since 1998, the Original Tooth Fairy Poll has been keeping tabs on the Tooth Fairy’s payouts to kids losing their baby teeth all across the United States. If you’ve ever been curious about the national average payout, how those payouts change year over year, and the comparison to global tooth rates, this poll is full of information that will answer your questions!
The Tooth Fairy’s 2017
Historically, the Tooth Fairy’s payouts to kids has tracked along with the national economy. When the economy is doing well, the exchange rate for baby teeth seems to go up with it! But this past year, despite the S&P 500 gaining more than 17%, the Tooth Fairy paid out 11% less in gifts than she did in 2016. This begs the question: Is the Tooth Fairy getting cheaper?
In 2017, the average per-tooth payout was $4.13. While this is way up from the approximately $1.50 that kids were getting for their teeth in 1998 when the poll began, it’s a noticeable dip from the even $4.50 that children could expect to find under their pillows the previous year. In fact, 2016 marked the highest US value for baby teeth in recorded history.
When it comes to international rates, the variation from country to country is slight. Whether children are being paid for their teeth in yen, colón, or euros, the average remains similar or equivalent to the four US dollars and some change that American kids can expect.
Of course, not all children are receiving cash for their teeth. Some are swapping their baby teeth for small games or toys, and nearly a third of children receive a toothbrush for their troubles.
What Are Your Teeth Worth?
All joking aside, the real value of your children’s teeth lies not in their price on the fairy market, but their health. We practice family dentistry, so we think that good oral health starts with habits that are established early in life. And even if those baby teeth are coming out eventually, damage to children’s oral health can be carried with them into adulthood.
That’s why it’s so important to protect your children’s teeth. This is a responsibility that comes in two parts: Oral hygiene, and diet.
Once your child has teeth, it’s time to start brushing! Parents should brush their teeth while they’re too young to do it themselves (they make toothbrushes and toothpaste specifically designed for children), and once kids have established the necessary fine motor skills, parents should teach them how to brush not just consistently, but effectively. Don’t forget about flossing! As soon as they have two teeth to floss between, flossing should become part of the routine.
Of course, a good tooth brushing routine can’t save a child’s teeth from an overabundance of sugar. So many foods and drinks marketed towards children are packed with sugar, which leads to cavities. It’s up to parents to ensure that your child’s diet isn’t damaging their teeth.
And this is one area where it’s vital that you model good behavior for your kids. You need to lead by example, controlling the sugar in your diet and in family meals, putting soda (even diet soda) away, and brushing your teeth. The family that eats together can either get cavities together–or not. That’s your choice. And, of course, your children need to see that you make regular dental visits yourself. This is even more important for you. After all, when an adult loses a tooth, there’s no gift under the pillow.