It’s such a cute milestone, but it’s definitely still confusing for parents. From how many teeth your child has and how many will fall out to what’s the going rate for the Tooth Fairy, it’s an on-going debate in households across North America.
It seems The Tooth Fairy acts differently in each household. Every day, people on social media ask about the etiquette of the Tooth Fairy and how she works her magic. So, without further ado, here is A Beginner’s Guide to the Tooth Fairy.
How many teeth do children have?
According to Colgate.com, children have 20 baby teeth: ten on the top and 10 on the bottom. Often parents don’t realize that it can take years—years!—for all the baby teeth to fall out. Again, there are 20 of them, which means a lot of late night visits from the Tooth Fairy. Which is also why you should be careful about how much you leave under that pillow for that first lost tooth. You don’t want to set the bar too high! Sure, you may be excited. But you don’t want your kid to think that that they’ll automatically receive 20 dollars for each and every tooth, just because you only had a twenty on you on the night they lost their first one.
If children lose 20 teeth, and you pay them $20 a tooth, that will set you—rather, the Tooth Fairy—back $400 over the years! If you only have a $20, make sure your kid knows that it’s only for the first lost tooth and that the Tooth Fairy needs to start being a little cheaper for following teeth. After all, there are so many children and only ONE Tooth Fairy! (Or so I told my children.)
At What Age Do Children Start Losing Baby Teeth?
According to the Mayo Clinic, children’s baby teeth (also called primary teeth) begin to loosen and fall out to make room for permanent teeth at around age six or seven. However, there are children who lose teeth as early as three and as late as age eight. The first baby teeth to fall out are usually the two bottom front teeth and the two top front teeth. Molars generally fall out between ages 9 and 12 and are replaced by permanent teeth by about age 14. So, again, the Tooth Fairy can stick around for years! But, oh, those toothless children are so cute. Enjoy it, because what comes next are probably braces…and the Tooth Fairy doesn’t chip in for that cost.
Is the Tooth Fairy Real?
YES! (Or, so it appears). The Tooth Fairy may even be more popular than Santa and the Easter Bunny. In a Delta dental poll, the Tooth Fairy visited 81 percent of homes in America after children lost a tooth. Visits from the Tooth Fairy will outnumber combined visits from Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, at least while your children are still ‘believers.’ (And, trust me, kids will at least pretend to believe in the Tooth Fairy for as long as possible, because the Tooth Fairy brings money!)
How Much Should The Tooth Fairy Leave?
This is one of the more difficult questions to answer. Everyone has a different opinion. Not surprising to find that the amount The Tooth Fairy leaves largely depends on what the parents have on hand. In the Delta Dental Survey, 44 per cent of those interviewed said the ‘amount of spare cash they had determined the size of the monetary gift’. With the advent of bank cards and e-commerce, many parents don’t even carry cash anymore. This is why I gave my daughter $20 for her first tooth, as it was all the cash I had on me and I had no clue what the going rate for the Tooth Fairy was. The great thing about kids losing their teeth around ages 6 or 7, is that they don’t really comprehend the importance of money and they can’t really do a lot of complicated math. Why else would they tend to prefer four loonies instead of a twenty dollar bill? (Enjoy this while it lasts!)
Tooth Fairy By the Numbers
Last year, the Tooth Fairy paid about $290.6 million in the U.S. for lost teeth, a 13.5% increase from 2015. Cash payouts for a first lost tooth are up about 10% to $5.72. First-tooth payouts are typically higher than average. Interestingly, the Tooth Fairy must read the business pages, because the Tooth Fairy’s ‘generosity has historically been a good indicator of the economy.’ Who knew? Maybe some politicians should take a look at the Tooth Fairy poll!
What To Do If You Lose the Tooth Before the Tooth Fairy Comes
Some kids lose their tooth at school, at an activity, at a playdate. My daughter actually swallowed one of her super wiggly teeth while eating. But still—the Tooth Fairy knows all. Just have your child leave a note for the Tooth Fairy, telling them what happened. In fact, there’s a recent heartwarming story about a boy who lost his tooth at school and was so upset when he lost it. The principal wrote a letter, on official school letterhead, that read, “Dear Tooth Fairy, Andrew lost his tooth at school today. Please accept this letter to vouch for him as he will put it under his pillow. I know Andrew well and say that he is a fine young man. Andrew cannot find his tooth, but I assure you it is gone.” So sweet. Everyone loves the Tooth Fairy!
Is the Tooth Fairy Forgetful?
Yes! Yes she is! Unlike Santa or the Easter Bunny, who have specific days to visit, The Tooth Fairy has to remember to visit all the children…20 times, over the course of their young lives. So of course she can be forgetful…or just really, really lazy and doesn’t want to leave the house at 10 pm at night to get to an ATM. According to the Original Tooth Fairy Poll, the Tooth Fairy has forgotten to visit 35% of homes at some point. Your child will lose a tooth on a random Tuesday—the same night that your kids have dance and basketball practice. Then you have to help with homework. And you still have to do the dishes. As one parent told me, “Trying to remember something at 10 pm… Who can even do that?” This may be one of the most common #parentingfails. But at least you’re not alone!
If your child doesn’t care about money, there are other ways to reward your kids for losing a tooth that won’t break the Tooth Fairy bank. Baskets full of goodies aren’t just for the Easter Bunny. Make a Tooth Fairy basket full of your kids’ favourite toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste and dental hygiene books. In this funny article, the author writes, ‘It seems that in some homes, in lieu of or in addition to money, the fairy leaves dental hygiene implements, such as new toothbrushes or toothpaste or floss. These are the homes of nerds and you should never have playdates there because they will have lame snacks.’ (HA!) In any case, I have left notes from the Tooth Fairy, telling my daughter how awesome she is. I’ll put the letter in an envelope, along with a lot of sparkles, so when my daughter opened the letter (which was also sealed with a kiss) it was much more exciting. I mean, of course the Tooth Fairy leaves behind fairy dust!
A New Way So The Tooth Fairy Doesn’t get Caught in the Act!
I thought this writer had a pretty brilliant idea, for all of you who can’t stay up late enough to make sure your kid is dead asleep before you have to sneak in the room and somehow manage to get under that pillow without waking your little one. The author writes, ‘We put the money in Viva’s inherited tooth pillow which hangs outside her bedroom door. This allows the Tooth Fairy to make her midnight switcheroonie without having to zip down from the ceiling Mission: Impossible style to get a teeny rootless tooth from under the pillow of a keyed-up Kindergartener. I don’t know that this pillow was originally intended to hold bills instead of coins, but it does the trick.’
How generous is the Tooth Fairy in your home? Has she ever been forgetful?
Tagged under: teeth,kid's tooth care,tooth fairy,tooth fairy rate,tooth,losing teeth,getting ready for the tooth fairy,children and the tooth fairy,how to be the tooth fairy,writing the tooth fairy a letter,waiting for teeth to fall out