Column, Money Matters

The tooth fairy— around the world

By Kevin Theissen

Around the world, Covid helped make 2020 one of the most challenging years ever for dentists. The Dental Tribune reported most dental offices around the world closed their doors in March. While most eventually reopened, the impact on dental practices and suppliers was significant. Many adopted cost-cutting measures.

The Tooth Fairy did not suffer the same fate.

In August 2020, Delta Dental’s Original Tooth Fairy Poll® found, “…the Tooth Fairy’s average cash gift increased 30 cents for a lost tooth, for a total of $4.03 per tooth.” The value of a lost tooth has tripled since the poll began in 1998. (The Tooth Fairy exchange rate was about $1.30/tooth back then.)

Four dollars may seem steep, but the United States isn’t the only country where lost baby teeth command a high price. For example:

Japanese children receive ¥437.93 , or about 4.22USD.

In Ireland and Spain, a baby tooth is worth $3.64 or $4.41.

Canadian kids receive $5.36 Canadian or $4.38 American.

Brazilian parents get off lighter. A tooth there is valued at R$17.12 or 3.27USD.

Visits from the Tooth Fairy offer teachable moments – times when kids may be interested in learning about money. One way to get the discussion going is to ask recipients of the Tooth Fairy’s generosity how they plan to spend the money. Once you’ve listened to the answer, you may want to offer other ideas like saving or donating part of the money.

Kevin Theissen is the owner of HWC Financial  in Ludlow.

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