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Is the Tooth Fairy getting stingy? Going rate for teeth down in U.S.

Illustrator Emily Green has created a brand of housewares devoted to kids. Here, a collection of tooth fairy boxes is displayed.
Illustrator Emily Green has created a brand of housewares devoted to kids. Here, a collection of tooth fairy boxes is displayed. MCT

Is the Tooth Fairy getting stingier? The going rate for a tooth in the U.S. is down for the second year in a row, according to a survey by Visa.

American kids found an average of $3.19 under their pillows this year, a 24 cent drop from last year, and 51 cents less per tooth than in 2013, according to the results of the annual survey.

$3.19 Average payment per tooth in 2015

“It’s the Tooth Fairy coming back down to earth,” said Nat Sillin, Visa’s director of global financial education.

One of the reasons Visa does the survey, Sillin said, is to encourage parents to teach their children about saving and budgeting.

“We certainly think that as the price coming down is reasonable and prudent,” he said.

But it’s not as though kids are getting a bad deal for their pearly whites.

At this year’s average of $3.19 per tooth, an entire mouthful of baby teeth would be valued at $64, a hefty haul.

And while it may come as a shock to parents who grew up expecting a single quarter from the Tooth Fairy, the average price per tooth has hovered above three dollars for four years now, Sillin said.

5% of American kids get $20 or more per tooth

The reason for the apparent devaluation of teeth in recent years isn’t clear, he said, since Visa’s survey doesn’t ask parents to explain how or why they set Tooth Fairy rates.

About one in three parents reported in this year’s survey that their kids get a single dollar per tooth.

One in five said the Tooth Fairy leaves a $5 bill under the pillow.

A fortunate 5 percent of American children receive 20 bucks or more from the Tooth Fairy.

The survey also reveals that fathers are more generous than mothers when handing out Tooth Fairy loot: Dads leave an average $3.63 per tooth, 27 percent more than the $2.87 average left by moms.

Lindsay Wise: 202-383-6007, @lindsaywise

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