Tooth Fairy tax is a thing, and it's doubled within a generation, but here are 4 money-alternative ideas you could try instead

Today's parents are paying considerably more for this family tradition than their parents did

Happy child showing off tooth gap
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As any parent will know, raising kids is an expensive endeavour. When you consider how much it costs to raise a child, you'll factor in essentials like food, clothing and shelter, but as your child grows, average childcare costs will become more important too. 

As the cost of living crisis took hold, all of these expenses increased as inflation peaked at more than 11%, stretching family budgets like never before

But new research has found that there's one parenting cost that has almost doubled in a generation, and it's something parents could have to fork out about 20 times per child - and that's the price of playing the tooth fairy. 

An increase in the tooth fairy tax

The latest research by finance experts, RIFT, revealed that UK parents have seen the current price paid per tooth has climbed by almost £1 from one generation to the next. 

The research found that when today’s parents were children, they received an average of £0.98 per tooth, but are now paying an average of £1.96 per tooth, which is an increase of 99%. 

The price for a single tooth might not seem like much of a big deal, but when you consider that children lose an average of 20 baby teeth, it soon adds up, especially if you have more than one child. 

How much you pay will also depend on where you live, according to the research. Out of the 6,673 UK parents surveyed, the ones who lived in Northern Ireland currently pay an average of £2.93 per tooth, while those in the east of England pay an average of £1.65 per tooth. But a generation ago, those in Northern Ireland received £1.52 per tooth, and those in the east of England received 92p.  

Bradley Post, MD of RIFT, comments on the findings: “It’s tough being a parent today, with the increased cost of living meaning we’re already paying through the teeth for everything from our weekly shop to our energy bills. 

"Unfortunately, the price of losing a tooth has also climbed considerably from one generation to the next, with the average child now pocketing 99% more than we did when we were their age. 

"The only silver lining to this price hike is that the number of teeth that can be traded to the Tooth Fairy is finite and so it’s a cost that only has to be endured until they hit their teenage years at the latest.”

child standing in front of mirror with his fingers in his mouth, wiggling a loose tooth

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How to avoid the Tooth Fairy tax

Leaving money from the Tooth Fairy might be a tradition in your family, but this could become very expensive, especially for future generations if they experience the same kind of generational increase.  Goodto's Family Editor, Stephanie Lowe, says: "I'm not convinced with the whole tooth fairy shenanigans, it sounds like a hustle. But, I am a follower so will probably pop a £1 and a note on his bedside table - the kid moves far too much in his sleep to risk the traditional 'under the pillow' move. My husband wants to leave a note that says 'added £1 to your Junior ISA - you're welcome', he thinks using a glitter pen will make it more fun."

So if you find you rarely have cash, or want to break the cycle, now might be a good time to start some new traditions. Here are some suggestions from the family experts here at Goodto:

  1. The Tooth Fairy could leave a special and elaborate note, with a fantastical backstory about what they are up to and thanking your child for taking such good care of their teeth. Goodto Features Editor Ellie Hutchings, says: "I remember once on holiday with family friends none of the adults had any cash so I got an apologetic note from the 'tooth fairy'. I loved it and made everyone do handwriting tests the next day to work out who had left it!"
  2. Losing a tooth could be a time to gift your child with a new toothbrush (oral care experts at Aquafresh say that a child's toothbrush should be replaced every three months, or every six months for the head if they use an electric toothbrush)
  3. Create your own treat vouchers to place under their pillow, this could be for a movie night or to stay up late or have a sleepover
  4. If you don't mind your child enjoying the occasional sweet treat, you could leave a chocolate coin instead (have a stash hidden in a cupboard so you're prepared at all times)

If you need some inspiration for new traditions to start in your family, you might also like these Christmas traditions that you can incorporate into the festivities this year.

Sarah Handley
Consumer Writer & Money Editor, GoodtoKnow

Sarah is GoodtoKnow’s Consumer Writer & Money Editor and is passionate about helping mums save money wherever they can - whether that's spending wisely on toys and kidswear or keeping on top of the latest news around childcare costs, child benefit, the motherhood penalty. A writer, journalist and editor with more than 15 years' experience, Sarah is all about the latest toy trends and is always on the look out for toys for her nephew or Goddaughters so that she remains one of their favourite grown ups. When not writing about money or best buys, Sarah can be found hanging out with her rockstar dog Pepsi, getting opinionated about a movie or learning British Sign Language.