Child with some missing teeth at the front

How much does the tooth fairy pay in 2023?

While the origins of traditions surrounding the tooth fairy are unclear, there has been plenty of speculation over the years by parents and children alike regarding the going rate for a lost tooth… not to mention what the tooth fairy actually does with all the teeth it collects each night.

We’ll likely never know the full answer. However, one thing remains true: belief in magical creatures exchanging teeth for money, good luck and other blessings is something you can find evidence of all over the world and throughout the ages.

Child putting money in a piggy bank

What’s the going rate for the tooth fairy in the UK?

Children have been leaving their missing teeth beneath their pillows for countless generations, excitedly waiting for a coin to take its place while they sleep. But how much does the tooth fairy pay for teeth in 2023?

Interestingly, it seems that recent economic instability has affected the magical realm in ways that reflect the waking world, too. While in 2018 the average UK exchange rate for a child’s tooth was £2.10, a survey1 looking at tooth fairy payments from across England sets the average price of a milk tooth in 2023 at £1.80. Perhaps unsurprisingly, children in London get a slightly higher fee for their fallen teeth, with the tooth fairy paying out approximately £2.30 per tooth in 2023.

Child lying down in bed

The tooth fairy in other cultures

Is the tooth fairy always a fairy? Different cultures in different parts of the world have a variety of approaches when it comes to lost teeth.

While we’re all used to the image of a small, cute and winged fairy bringing cash in exchange for milk teeth, you don’t have to look far to discover fascinating and varied alternatives to the tradition. For example, Irish mythology tells of Anna Bogle - a leprechaun with a missing tooth who collects children’s teeth to fix her own smile, leaving a piece of leprechaun gold for those who are kind enough to donate to her cause.

How would you feel about a mouse scurrying under your pillow to collect your teeth? In most of the Spanish speaking world, children are visited by El Ratoncito Perez - a little magical mouse who takes on the job of the tooth fairy. French and Swiss children are beneficiaries of another mythical rodent, La Petite Souris. Interestingly, these same mice pop up around Christmas time, helping Santa Claus deliver his gifts instead of the more familiar elves.

Another curious tradition in many parts of the world involves throwing a fallen tooth onto the roof of your home. In parts of Romania and Moldova, children toss their loose tooth onto the roof and call for the crows to replace it with a metal one. In many parts of southeast Asia, the teeth are thrown onto the roof, and depending on how straight it lands, the child will know if their new tooth will grow in a crooked way or not.

1 Source: Dental Phobia
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