Chew on This: The Tooth Fairy Isn’t Paying Out Like She Used To

Prepare yourself for some mental dental news.

Times are tough right now. The meteoric rise of the stock markets, record-low unemployment and rising wages might make you think otherwise, but 2017 saw a decline in one key metric: how much you get from the tooth fairy. That’s right, lost teeth just aren’t paying out like they used to.

Keep reading to learn how holiday heroes like Santa Claus are being put on a budget.

The Original Tooth Fairy Poll has been surveying parents on what their children receive from the Tooth Fairy on an annual basis since 1998, and 2017 saw the return on a tooth decline 11 percent to $4.13. Although that news is undoubtedly sending some of you to call your parents to complain long and loud about the quarters and dimes you used to receive, it’s also a very unusual result based on the relative strength of the economy elsewhere.

Typically, there’s been a clear correlation between the value of baby teeth and the economy, with the index tracking the Standard & Poor’s 500 index relatively closely over the year. Last year, however, saw the S&P 500 climb a whopping 18 percent, even as the Tooth Fairy index plunged double digits.

But what does this all mean for those of us who (knock on wood) won’t be losing teeth anytime soon? Is this unmooring of the Tooth Fairy from the S&P 500 the sign of a coming recession? Will this spark a massive sell-off in the volatile enamel futures market? Should we expect a sharp drop in colored egg and chocolate bunny yields when Easter rolls around? And for goodness’ sake, does this mean Santa isn’t coming through with that pony yet again this year?

Only time will tell, but it’s probably safe to say that this is more of a quirk than a harbinger of something more. Who knows, maybe parents just decided more than $4.50 for a baby tooth was just a little silly no matter what the stock market was doing.

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