The Tooth Fairy is a fantasy figure of early childhood in Western and Western-influenced cultures. The folklore states that when children lose one of their baby teeth, they should place it underneath their pillow or on their bedside table and the Tooth Fairy will visit while they sleep, replacing the lost tooth with a small payment.

In Northern Europe there was a tradition of tooth fee, which was paid when a child lost their first tooth. This tradition is recorded in writings as early as medieval times. The reward left varies by country, the family's economic status, amounts the child's peers report receiving and other factors. A recent survey by Visa Inc. found that American children receive $3.70 per tooth on average. According to the same survey, only 3% of children find a dollar or less and 8% find a five dollar bill or more under their pillow.


While parents are often unsure of themselves when promoting the fiction of the Tooth Fairy, the majority of children report positive outcomes. Upon learning the Tooth Fairy is not real, 75% of children reported liking the custom; 20% were neutral and 3% were not in favor and said they did not intend to continue the practice. Parents tend to view the myth as providing comfort for children in the loss of their tooth. Research finds that belief in the Tooth Fairy may provide such comfort to a child experiencing fear or pain resulting from the loss of a tooth.

Children often discover the Tooth Fairy is imaginary as part of the 5- to 7-year shift, often connecting this to other gift-bearing imaginary figures such as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

When will my baby's teeth begin to erupt?