Rantoul Press columnist

Bad news for kids these days. The tooth fairy has reduced her rates by 14 percent from last year.

I don’t know how these numbers are tracked, but a group called Delta Dental apparently polls its young patients, or perhaps they have a direct line for the tooth fairy. I’d like to get that phone number.

I want to talk to the tooth fairy. I want to know why grown-ups are not paid for our teeth. I seem to lose one or two a year, and I’d say the permanent teeth, which is an oxymoron for me, are worth a lot more than primary teeth. You lose a permanent tooth, it ain’t comin’ back.

And I want to know what she does with all those teeth. Necklaces and bracelets? Sewn onto dresses like sequins? Glued together to make dentures?

And how long will a tooth last after it’s out of the mouth? You see these documentaries about ancient skeletons, and they all have teeth. For some strange and unexplainable reason, I’ve kept my daughter’s baby teeth, and they haven’t shown any signs of decomposition in more than 20 years. Do teeth last forever?

And if teeth last forever, why aren’t there mounds of them stacked up everywhere? Over thousands of years of people wandering around the Earth, there has to be millions and millions of teeth somewhere. Where does the tooth fairy take them?

But I digress. There’s worse news for the kiddos. Midwestern teeth apparently aren’t worth as much as chompers from other parts of the country. The Midwest has the lowest rate of pay from the tooth fairy, according to the folks at Delta Dental.

A lost tooth in Illinois is worth a reported $2.97 on average. First, I want to know who’s paying nearly three bucks for a tooth? I don’t think I ever got more than a quarter, and that was for a front tooth. Everyone knows front teeth are worth more than the other teeth.

And how do we arrive at an odd number on the average? Is the tooth fairy leaving pennies under some people’s pillows?

Kids in the Northeast get an average of $3.75 per tooth. Makes you want to move there, doesn’t it? But wait. The tooth fairy of the south pays $3.91 per tooth. And those folks lose a lot of teeth. Now I know why; their whole economy revolves around tooth fairy profiteering.

But the kids out west are the real winners. They get $4.19 per average for a lost tooth. If you have a kid and he’s about to lose a tooth, book a trip to Disneyland; he’ll get more for it out there.

Maybe they only lose front teeth out west. A front tooth in today’s economy ought to be worth a fiver. But molars and incisors? Buck apiece, tops.

I wonder, do dentures cost more out west? I can understand if the tooth fairy is tapped into some sort of tooth recycling scam, she might pay more in places where she can sell them for a bigger profit.

Or maybe the demand is just higher out there. All those Hollywood folks, you know, they need their pearly whites. You can’t go on TV without them. But that doesn’t explain the high prices paid in the South.

But, anyway, this is good information to know. If any of my California nephews lose a tooth on my watch, I’ve got the data to support the chintzy payout they’ll receive here. I’ve got grandkids in Arkansas and Florida. They better hope they don’t lose a tooth during Christmas in Illinois.

I think I just discovered why I’ve kept my daughter’s teeth. Next time I go to Vegas, I’m sellin’ ‘em. I’ll use them as betting chips.

© Copyright 2019 by David Porter who can be reached at Maybe the kids out west are selling their teeth to the tooth fairy to help pay for braces. By the time they get the braces paid for, they won’t have any teeth to put them on.