Who even knew such a thing existed? Some claim the day dates back to the 1920’s when fairies were used in all sorts of health education promotions. They used fairies as a way to get kids to bathe, eat their vegetables, as well as brush their teeth. In 1927 Esther Watkins Arnold published a short play for kids about the adventures of the Tooth Fairy. That same year, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle proved his claim that fairies and gnomes were real by publishing pictures of two little girls surrounded by fairies.
Apparently the Tooth Fairies (of course there is more than one, boy fairies and girl fairies), started by leaving nickels and dimes under the pillows of sleeping kids in exchange for their teeth. The amount of money left for teeth seems to vary by how many teeth the child has lost (always more money for the first lost tooth), as well as the economic health of the nation (stronger economy = higher payouts from the Tooth Fairy).
As stated in a USA Today article, Delta Dental insurance company does a survey every year (for the past 13 years) to track the behavior of the Tooth Fairy. According to Delta Dental payouts from the Tooth Fairy have rocketed in the past year to an average of $4.66 per tooth. This is a $0.75 (13.5%) increase from 2015. Per USA Today, this is not just good news for the kids. It has historically been a good indication of the strength of the economy. The percentage increase in the amount of money the Tooth Fairy leaves has been within 1% of the S&P 500 stock index increase for the year in 12 of the past 13 years. The S&P 500 is considered by many to be one of the best representations of the strength of the US stock market and economy. Who would have thought a tiny fairy could have such an impact on our economic well-being?
As I said earlier, the money left for the first lost tooth is generally higher than for other teeth (even molars). Last year it averaged $5.72, a 10% increase from 2015. As I recall our Tooth Fairy (who is of course a girl) left $10 for each of my girls’ first lost tooth. She has never left more than $5 for any tooth since. She is sometimes forgetful (or overly busy) and doesn’t get to our girls’ teeth on the first night under the pillow. My girls are also forgetful and often fail to leave their tooth beneath the pillow for their Tooth Fairy to retrieve. This year around Christmas Peyton forgot for several nights in a row and the Tooth Fairy got so frustrated that she tied our Christmas elf, Snowflake, to a chair and performed some tooth extractions on her! Or perhaps our elf just had a toothache and the Fairy was helping her out. Did you know that elf teeth smell like licorice? Needless to say, Peyton did not forget to leave her tooth under the pillow the following night; she felt so bad for Snowflake. The Tooth Fairy left her $ and a note explaining that she wasn’t torturing Snowflake, but helping her by removing some bad teeth. Peyton was much relieved.
We like to imagine that our Tooth Fairy has blond hair and pink glittery wings, but unfortunately we have never managed to get a glimpse of her. The Tangle Fairy, on the other hand, I have seen with my own eyes. She has brown hair and yellow and orange wings. She tangles the girls’ hair at night as they sleep, but I guess that’s another story altogether.