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Tooth Fairy taking bite out of parents' pocketbooks

As most Americans set about tightening their belts, the tooth fairy's magic shows no signs of waning.

Indeed, this fantasy figure's generosity is skyrocketing, according to a new survey, which revealed that some American children are pocketing up to $50 per tooth.

The amount left by the tooth fairy has shot up in recent years, and 2013 is no exception, research by Visa showed on Friday. Its annual tooth survey revealed that children found an average of $3.70 under their pillows in 2013 – a whopping 23 percent increase on 2012, when only $3.00 was left.

Based on this rate of return, a child would net an impressive $74 for a full set of 20 baby teeth.

But some youngsters are set to make even more, with 6 percent of American children receiving $20 or more from the tooth fairy – and 2 percent finding a crisp $50 bill tucked under their pillow.

The tradition, which has its origins in the 1800s, sees children place their lost baby teeth under their pillow for the "tooth fairy," who leaves some loose change in exchange for the tooth. But the days of finding a quarter are long gone, and somewhat surprisingly, only a third of those surveyed reported that the tooth fairy left a dollar per tooth.

The tooth fairy is most generous in the Northeast, according to the research, where children get an average of $4.10 per tooth. By contrast, Midwestern children found the least under their pillows, with an average of $3.30 per tooth. 

Despite the recent economic downturn, the custom remains popular with the tooth fairy visiting 90 percent of households in the U.S. this year.