My eldest turned 6 this past week and one of the things he was most excited about was the idea of losing his teeth. This got me thinking about the whole tooth losing process – the Tooth Fairy story, going rate for a tooth, and creative money ideas.
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Let’s start by tackling this issue one step at a time, starting with the backstory behind the Tooth Fairy.
The Magical Tooth Fairy Story
We all know the basics of the Tooth Fairy story: Kid loses a tooth and the tooth fairy leaves money in exchange for said tooth. Simple enough, right?
That explanation may be enough for some, but not me. My kids and I have so many questions! Starting with…
Why Does the Tooth Fairy Take Your Teeth?
The best Tooth Fairy story I’ve found is included in The Tooth Fairy Kit available on Amazon. The adorable book is called
Lunette, the True Story of the Tooth Fairy and it explains how the Tooth Fairy came to be and what motivates her to collect teeth.
The kit includes the book, a keepsake journal for recording the story of each lost tooth, and a star plush especially made for holding teeth and treasures (as is explained in the story!).
The book tells the story of a fairy named Lunette. She is a kind and clever fairy struggling to find her purpose in life (aren’t we all?).
Lunette wants her kindness to help those who are afraid. She finds the perfect opportunity when she meets a little boy scared about his wiggly tooth. To ease his worries, Lunette tells him to turn on the light in his room as a signal when he loses the tooth. She promises to come collect it and turn it into something magical.
What Does the Tooth Fairy Do With the Teeth?
So what on earth is the Tooth Fairy doing with billions of teeth she has collected over the years?
According to the story, she uses them to make fairy dust and light up the stars in the sky.
Sounds magical and slightly creepy in my opinion. BUT the great things about this book is that it really helps ease the fear of children losing their teeth.
Lunette turns a process that can seem scary into something fun and exciting. That is worth its weight in gold. Which brings me right to my next question….
Why Encourage the Tooth Fairy Story?
Between Santa, Leprechauns, the Switch Witch, and the Easter Bunny, why should parents lie to their kids about another magical figure? A few reasons,
Tooth Fairy traditions do a great job of soothing and comforting children through the process of losing teeth.
It can be scary! Everyone is telling them they’re growing up, they’ve got these big holes in their mouths, and there’s even the fear it’s going to hurt.
For kids, the Tooth Fairy turns something scary into something exciting.
Even better, parents can use the Tooth Fairy story to their advantage to model good behaviour and oral hygiene.
Here are a few examples:
- If you are struggling to get your children to properly clean their teeth, let them know the Tooth Fairy pays more for clean teeth over ones with decay.
- Similarly, you can tell children who enjoy too many sweets that the Tooth Fairy prefers nice, clean teeth without excess sugar.
- For children with messy rooms, the Tooth Fairy can leave a note describing her inability to get to their bed with the mess on the floor.
How Many Teeth Do Kids Lose?
Babies generally start showing their first tooth between 6-10 months old, starting with one of the bottom middle teeth. Over the next 2ish years they’ll grow a total of 20 teeth (10 on the top, 10 on the bottom).
Starting around the age of 6, they start to lose all those baby teeth in the order they came in. The American Dental Association put out this neat little picture chart on primary tooth development that shows roughly when all the teeth develop and are later shed.
The process of losing teeth continues until the “tween” years (11-12 years old). After the last permanent teeth make their appearance (the wisdom teeth, which can come in as late as early 20s!), a total of 32 adult teeth will have replaced those original 20 baby teeth.
What’s the Going Rate for a Tooth?
Tooth payout depends on a lot of factors including your location, socioeconomic status, and even the type of tooth that was lost!
Around me, by far the most popular option is giving out a dollar coin for teeth. Remember, there are 20 of them so make sure you properly prepare by going to the bank ahead of time if you choose this route! You don’t want your child to come home without a tooth expecting payment when you don’t have any more coins.
Visa does a survey every year to chart the average tooth payout. The rate hit an all time high in 2017 when the average was $4.13 per lost tooth.
In more recent years it has come down closer to $3.00. Practical Money Skills has a handy Tooth Fairy payout calculator you can use to estimate the going rate in your area.
Why do some children get more money than others?
This one is tricky. What if your kids come home saying that another child in their class got $5, $20, or even $100 for a lost tooth? Here are a couple of ideas:
— The Tooth Fairy pays more for clean, sparkly teeth that are well brushed twice a day
— Payout depends on the type of tooth and how many teeth you’ve lost
— The Tooth Fairy has a set tooth budget every night. If lots of kids lose their teeth in a single day they have to split the pot amongst themselves.
Overall the Tooth Fairy story can be a magical way to turn something scary into something fun and exciting. What are some of your favorite Tooth Fairy traditions?