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For New York City Families, the Tooth Fairy Tradition Comes With a Hefty Price Tag

Looks like the Tooth Fairy is taking a bigger bite out of the Big Apple — or at least out of its residents’ wallets.


New York City families now pay their children the most money per tooth than parents in any other U.S. city., according to this year’s Tooth Fairy Survey, conducted by oral healthcare company Sunstar GU. A New York City child who’s shedding his or her baby teeth can expect to find $13.25 per tooth under the pillow.

Compared to kids in Los Angeles, who get $9.69 per tooth, kids in Chicago, who get $5.85 per tooth, and kids in Boston, who get just $5.02 for each of their baby teeth, it’s clear that New York City’s youngest residents have it pretty good.

“This is New York City,” one mother of three explained to the New York Daily News. “So in other parts of the country, people give $2 or $5, but here, it’s double and even triple that.”

But for New York City parents, playing Tooth Fairy to comfort their panicked children can add up fast. Between the ages of four and 12, most children lose 20 teeth — meaning each child will earn a cool $265 just by growing into their adult teeth.

The Tooth Fairy is a long-standing parenting tradition throughout the United States. Nationwide, the average baby tooth payout throughout 2014 was $4.36 per tooth, up 25% from 2013. Parents across the country left an incredible $225 million underneath their children’s pillows last year.

It’s not just the cost of rewarding their children for losing baby teeth that is breaking the bank for New York parents. The average age to be treated for dental overcrowding, for example, currently hovers around 10 years old. That’s not to mention the cost of regular dental check-ups and cleanings that every child needs, either.

But when everything is more expensive in New York City, maybe these Tooth Fairy costs are just another example of the city’s high cost of living. As a result, parents, whose incomes are often higher, are likely well-equipped to handle these extra Tooth Fairy tariffs.