Tooth Fairy Inflation: Cost Of A Tooth Now Runs Almost $4

Even the Tooth Fairy is not immune to inflation.

A desire to keep up with playground competition has pushed the average price for a tooth to $3.70 this year, a new survey from payment processor Visa found. The price represents a 23 percent jump over the rate of $3 per tooth found in last year’s survey.

Experts said the Tooth Fairy is dishing out bigger paydays as parents try to keep pace with one another.

“A kid who got a quarter would wonder why their tooth was worth less than the kid who got $5,” Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist and professor at Golden Gate University, told The Associated Press.

The survey was based on 3,000 phone interviews during July, spanning all areas of the United States.

Jason Alderman, senior director of financial education at Visa, said many parents are consulting with one another to find the going rates for the Tooth Fairy. Alderman said his kids got $1 a tooth, but other families gave up to $5.

The survey also found geographical variations. Kids in the Northeast get $4.10 a tooth, while kids in the Midwestern states receive only $3.30 a tooth.

The number of kids getting $5 per tooth has tripled in the last two years, the survey found, with the number reaching 10 percent. Another 6 percent of kids get $20 a tooth and 2 percent receive $50 a tooth. With 20 baby teeth in total, that brings the total haul for those kids to $1,000.

At the other end of the spectrum, more than one-third of kids get $1 per tooth or less.

Younger parents tended to be more generous, the survey found. Parents in the 18-to-24 range gave an average of $5 per tooth.

“The Tooth Fairy is throwing money around like pixie dust,” Nat Sillin, Visa’s head of U.S. Financial Education, said. “While more money is exciting news for children, parents should take this opportunity to talk saving and smart money habits with their kids and have the same talk with a perhaps overgenerous Tooth Fairy.”

Visa has another motive in promoting its Tooth Fairy survey. The company is promoting a downloadable Tooth Fairy Calculator that breaks down prices by age group, income bracket, and education level.

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