Here's how valuable our teeth are to the tooth fairy
Originally known as ‘Jenny Greenteeth’, the elusive tooth fairy first flew into our lives over a century ago with the aim of encouraging children to look after their teeth. Nowadays, kids in the UK and further afield, place newly-lost milk teeth under their pillows before bedtime, waiting for the tooth fairy to collect them in exchange for money.
But just how much does the tooth fairy fork out each year? And has the value of children’s ‘baby teeth’ gone up or down over the years?
We spoke to parents of children aged 5-12 to work out the average tooth values received by kids over the years.
A milk tooth is worth £2.38
Data analysis shows us the tooth fairy paid out £2.38 for each milk tooth in 2020. When we take into account that children lose around three teeth per year, that equates to an annual earning of £7.14 – not to be sniffed at for a 5-12 year old.
Between 2011 and 2020, the tooth fairy shelled out a staggering £489.5m on teeth in the UK alone. But are today’s kids actually starting to lose out compared to earlier generations, once values are adjusted for inflation? Taking into account the sample sizes of children for each year, it appears the class of 2020 are actually getting a slightly raw deal, as shown below.
Looking ahead, we were also able to predict how many children we’d expect to see earning from the tooth fairy by 2026. Based on the equivalent cost of £7.14 in years to come, we expect the tooth fairy to shell out a further £316.2m in the next five years, to around 41.2m children. We’re starting to wonder where they get all this money from!
Going way back, parents currently aged 55-64 pocketed £1.27 for each tooth in 1962. This actually equates to a whopping £27.70 in today’s money when adjusted. Moreover, parents now aged 35-44 were gifted £3.64 per tooth in 1982, which equates to around £13.13 now.
Top tips to encourage your child to spend responsibly
As soon as your child finds the tooth money under their pillow, they’re probably already deciding what to spend it on. But now it could be a great time to start helping them learn the value of saving, and spending their hard-earned money wisely.
Explain spending and saving in a way your child will understand
When it comes to explaining the benefits and repercussions of spending vs saving, use language your children relate to and use themselves, to help the topic resonate with them.
Understand that spending is inevitable
Ofcourse you want your child to understand the importance of saving. But it’s also good to encourage the development of a healthy, balanced attitude towards money, and don’t feel like they have to keep hold of every penny that comes their way.
Let them know it’s ok to spend – provided they can afford it, and that they’re buying something they really want or need. This will teach them to start making financial decisions independently. Should they spend their tooth fairy money straight away on sweets or stickers; or would saving up for more long-term buys, like a game, be a better choice?
Teach your child the importance of saving
Try not to let kids grow up thinking it’s always a straight choice between spending or saving.. So, if they’re getting the average of £2.38 per tooth, why not encourage them to save £1 of it, letting them spend the rest on whatever they want?
Children look set to continue making profits on their milk teeth for years to come, so it’s really a great time to start teaching them the value of money. Perhaps our most burning question remains though: where does the tooth fairy get all that money from?!
Brought to you by the money experts at comparethemarket.com
ONS population data was analysed to determine the number of children aged 5-12 across the UK, during 2011-2020. A survey via TLF was also conducted in March 2021 with 1,000 UK parents that have had a child between 5-12 over the years and have given them money each time they lost a tooth.
The figures were determined by working out the average number of teeth children lose per year (which is 2.5 but has been rounded up to 3) to reveal the amount of money given away each year (£7.14). To showcase how much the tooth fairy has given away in today’s money, the Bank of England’s inflation price index was used to calculate the equivalent price of £7.14 for the years ranging from 2011-2019 to 2020. From here a vlookup was required to multiply the equivalent costs by the number of children aged 5-12, to calculate the inflation adjusted total.
For the future forecast, the data from TLF and ONS, alongside the inflation price index and Excel FORECAST function were used to calculate what £7.14 in 2020 will be worth in the years 2021-2026.