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No commodity is safe is this economy--even teeth. According to a telephone survey conducted by Visa, Inc., the Tooth Fairy has been tightening her belt during the recession. Kids today receive an average of $2.60 per lost baby tooth, down from $3.00 in 2010. That's a relatively substantial 14 percent drop.

This offbeat statistic has been bouncing around the blogosphere, taken as another piece of anecdotal evidence of the far-reaching effects of the recession and perhaps as a distraction from scarier numbers. But Kevin Drum at Mother Jones points out $2.60 is still substantially higher than what he and many other commentators got when they were kids, even when inflation is taken into account.

Fair enough, but there's still one unanswered question: Why does Visa care about the Tooth Fairy's payouts? Apparently the study was done as part of Visa's effort to educate kids on money management.

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