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Losing those first baby teeth can be exciting but a little scary. The tooth fairy is a terrific way to make it fun and slip in a push for oral hygiene. And as your child gets older, questions begin to arise. But at any age, the tooth fairy and her gifts are a great chance to emphasize dental care. Remind your child that it’s more important than ever to brush and floss when adult teeth come in.
What’s The Going Rate For A Baby Tooth?
A lot has changed since many of us received quarters under our pillows. According to the Delta Dental “Original Tooth Fairy Poll” of 1,000 parents, the average gift amount in 2020 was $4.70. That’s almost five bucks a tooth! Of course, it’s okay to give less. There are fun ways to make lower amounts memorable, including dollar coins and $2 bills. Whatever amount you choose, remind your child that the tooth fairy pays more for clean teeth.
How Can I Build Excitement About The Tooth Fairy?
The American Dental Association has some fun ways to welcome the tooth fairy and make losing a baby tooth even more special and memorable:
- Leave a “receipt” for the tooth that your child can save for each tooth.
- Help your child create a special dish for the tooth fairy instead of leaving the tooth under their pillow.
- Create a tooth fairy scrapbook with notes to and from the tooth fairy.
- Leave a tooth brushing calendar with the traditional monetary prize.
- Create a “smilestone” scrapbook with photos of your child’s new smile each time they lose a tooth.
What If I Forget About The Tooth Fairy?
You haven’t really done the parenting thing if you haven’t woken up to the sinking realization that you forgot the tooth fairy. But there are tried and true ways to correct your mistake. Some cool ideas from the internet include:
- Write a note from the tooth fairy for your child apologizing for the miss.
- One Twitter dad suggests telling your child the tooth fairy only works every other night.
- Another Twitter parent came up with the brilliant idea of “wing surgery.”
- Have a neighbor call to say the tooth fairy hit the wrong house.
Most families find creative excuses when the pressure is on. Just try to avoid a repeat performance.
What Should I Do WIth My Kids’ Baby Teeth?
Different families have different approaches to dealing with all of those baby teeth. Dentistry Today covered a 2020 survey showing that 59 percent of families keep their children’s teeth–either as keepsakes or for stem cells. Recent research has shown that scientists can use stem cells from baby teeth to regrow tooth tissue in case of an injury. Twenty-three percent disposed of them, either simply throwing them away, disposing through a ritual, or burying them in a flowerpot or the backyard. Eighteen percent used them in “some other way.” We’ve seen jewelry and other crafts made from baby teeth. It all depends on your family tradition and values. However, the promising stem cell research is an excellent argument for saving at least some of your child’s baby teeth. Give them a cleaning and place them in a special container for safekeeping.
What Do I Do When My Child No Longer Believes in the Tooth Fairy?
By the time your child is losing baby teeth, they’re already old enough to ask plenty of questions, so be prepared. As kids get older, they usually get wise but are willing to play along for the big payoff. If your child asks you straight up, it’s best to be honest. But have a chat about spilling the beans to classmates and younger siblings. As your child gets older, do a countdown of the number of baby teeth remaining. Consider bumping up the dollar amount for those last molars with a note that you appreciate their diligence as their complete set of adult teeth arrives.
At Hall Family Dentistry, we’ve watched generations of kids move from tooth fairy believers to playing the tooth fairy themselves. That’s a lot of baby teeth and healthy smiles. We look forward to the year ahead and continuing to support patients of all ages with dental care that makes the tooth fairy proud.