Pillow tax: Even the Tooth Fairy can't fight inflation

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Pillow tax

Compensating children for losing teeth just got a lot more costly for the Tooth Fairy, with the average payout up to $6.23 in 2023 according to the latest annual poll.

The earliest reference to the “Tooth Fairy” that we know of today cropped up in the Chicago Tribune in 1908 as parental advice for helping children through the tooth-losing process. However, some trace the practice to the “tand-fe” — or tooth fee — that Norse people would pay to children after their first loss, though the vikings likely weren’t shilling out more than $6 a tooth.

Delta Dental conducts its Original Tooth Fairy Poll every year, asking 1,000 parents across the US how much their children are getting for each tooth. 2023’s figure came in 87 cents higher than last year’s, confirming that no one, not even the Tooth Fairy, is escaping the impact of inflation.

Given that children typically lose all 20 of their milk teeth, parents adhering to the “average” will end up paying out a whopping $124.60. For context, in 1998 each tooth was rewarded just $1.30 on average, making a full "mouth" worth $26.

Go deeper: explore the poll’s findings and their surprising correlation with the S&P 500 here.

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Pillow tax: Even the Tooth Fairy can't fight inflation
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