Tooth fairy economics

Charlie lost his front tooth this week at his Little League practice. Non-baseball related.

A couple weeks earlier, he lost his other front tooth, leaving a gap in his mouth large enough to drive a train through. It’s hilarious.


When a child loses their tooth in our home, the tooth fairy brings that child a single golden dollar. Sacagawea, Susan B. Anthony, or one of the many Presidential coins, placed carefully under their pillow after they are fast asleep.

One dollar. This is an appropriate amount of money for a tooth.

When someone in one of Elysha Dicks’s Facebook group asked how much their child should receive for a lost tooth, a common response was $20.

This is an insane amount of money to give a child for losing a tooth.

When I was a child, I received 25 cents for a tooth and was quite pleased. Even if I had received a whole dollar back then, inflation rates would only make that dollar worth about $3.10 in today’s money.

Giving your child $3.10 would be weird, but it wouldn’t be insane. $20 is insane.

$20 is more than ten times the rate of inflation. More importantly, $20 really is a crazy amount of money. Given that children eventually lose about 20 teeth, this makes their baby teeth worth a total of $400.

This is not right. Not at all.

You know how some people say, “I’m not trying to sound judgmental…” right before they sound judgmental? I’m not doing that here. Not not trying to avoid sounding judgmental. I’m trying desperately and specifically to sound judgmental.

I am being super judgy.

I am officially judging the hell out of any parent who gives their child $20 for a lost tooth.

If you are one of those parents and this upsets you, please remember that the economics of tooth fairy wealth distribution is not the kind of thing that should upset you very much. Calm yourself down. No need to get angry over every little thing.

If, for example, you think that only giving my child a single dollar from the tooth fairy is heartless, cruel, and cheap, I really wouldn’t care. “Fine,” I’d think. “Have your stupid opinion. People are entitled to stupid opinions. Your thoughts about my parenting don’t actually change anything about me or my kids. They are just electrical pulses in the neurons of your stupid brain.”

See how easy that is?

Apply this mindset to your own situation if my judgmental stance on your tooth fairy decision-making has your knickers in a bunch, because I’ll say it again:

$20 is not right. It’s ludicrous and crazy-town. Kids who are young enough to be losing their first teeth do not need $20. They simply need a little magic in their lives. A little whimsey.

A $20 bill is neither magical not whimsical. It's hard cash. Real money. Unnecessary money.

My kids are always so excited about their golden dollars.

When Charlie received his golden dollar last week, he asked me if the tooth fairy is real.

“Of course she’s real,” I said. “How do you think you got that gold dollar?”

“Maybe you put it there,” he said.

“I don’t have any gold dollars,” I said. “How would I get a golden dollar?”

“Probably at the bank,” he said.

He may be in first grade, but he is one savvy little boy.