The tooth fairy is serious business in my house. So far K has lost a total of four teeth. She’s almost 8 and we assume that once she returns from camp, well, there will be some major tooth wiggling and perhaps even pulling going on in her room. Needless to say, this tooth fairy has been saving her quarters, half dollars and loose change in preparation for the onslaught of baby teeth coming her way.
Which is why my ears perked up when I heard that the going rate for a tooth has decreased in the United States. According to a recent Visa Inc., survey, the cost per tooth has decreased an average of 40 cents over the last year. In 2010, the going rate for an average, run-of-the-mill baby tooth was $3.00. And yes, that was roughly what K received for her teeth. Now, children are receiving a mere $2.60 (or $2.80 in the West). I don’t know about you, but I am a “rounder” by nature so putting 2 dollars, 2 quarters and a dime under K’s pillow seems like too much work for me. I am sticking with the $3.00 more or less because I am lazy.
I could, however, subscribe to the growing faction of parents who perceive rewarding children for losing teeth as unnecessary. It’s part of regular human development to lose one’s baby teeth, so why all the fuss, right? Last year, roughly 6 percent of children did not receive any payment for their teeth. The rate has increased to 10 percent today. One might blame the increase on the recession or on parent’s indifference to the whole “tooth fairy” lore. There may be cultural reasons why these children are not compensated for their loss.
Because the tooth fairy is still a big deal in our house, I think that it might break my little one’s heart if I all of the sudden told her: “Remember when Mommy was laid off from her job? Well, the same thing happened to the tooth fairy this year.” If we can stick with the $3.00 amount, I will consider my husband and I lucky. Knowing our daughter, she will leave a note addressed to the tooth fairy negotiating for a tooth rate increase. When, and if she gets the increase, K will be sure to tell her buddies of the going rate in her house and that they, too, should also negotiate with their personal “fairy.” Before we know it, my daughter’s group of friends will have adjusted the national average back to the $3.00!