Tooth Fairy as an Index of Economic Recovery?


Kids are benefiting from the recovering U.S. economy, with the average gift from the Tooth Fairy reaching a new high of $4.36 last year, up from $3.50 in 2013, according to Delta Dental’s The Original Tooth Fairy Poll®.1 In 2014, the Tooth Fairy left a staggering $255 million for lost teeth based on Delta Dental  estimates.

The Original Tooth Fairy Poll has generally been a good indicator of the economy’s overall direction. In fact, the trend in Tooth Fairy giving has tracked with the movement of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (S&P 500) in 11 of the past 12 years. In 2014, both the average Tooth Fairy gift and the S&P 500 posted double-digit gains for the third year in a row, with 24.6 percent and 11.4 percent increases  respectively.

“As leaders in the dental benefits industry, we keep our eye on all kinds of economic indicators, and the Tooth Fairy’s record giving tracks with big gains in the major stock indexes in 2014,” said Jennifer Elliott, vice president of marketing at Delta Dental Plans  Association.

Tooth Fairy Index Infographic

The Tooth Fairy Leaves More than  Money
Delta Dental’s survey found that in 88 percent of the homes she visited, the Tooth Fairy left cash for kids, either by itself or in combination with other gifts. Kids who got a gift in addition to or instead of cash most often received a toy, game, toothbrush, toothpaste, book, doll, stuffed animal or dental  floss.

Other findings from The Original Tooth Fairy Poll, which surveyed more than 1,000 parents nationwide,  include:

  • The Tooth Fairy visited 81 percent of U.S. homes with children who lost a  tooth.
  • The amount of spare cash on hand (44 percent) or the child’s age (39 percent) are the most mentioned reasons for how much is left by the Tooth  Fairy.
  • The Tooth Fairy was more generous with first-time tooth losers, leaving more money for the first tooth in 40 percent of homes. On average, the amount given for the first tooth was $5.74, a 27 percent increase from 2013.
  • The Tooth Fairy was stingiest with kids in the Midwest, leaving just $2.83 per tooth. Kids in the South raked in the dough, receiving $5.16 per tooth. And kids in the West and Northeast didn’t fare so bad either, receiving $4.68 and $4.16  respectively.
  • Kids with younger parents also received more money from the Tooth Fairy. Kids with parents under age 35 received the most ($5.40 per tooth), followed by kids with parents ages 35 to 44 ($4.24 per tooth) and parents ages 45 and older ($2.45 per  tooth).
  • Most kids seem satisfied with their gift. Only 17 percent of parents can recall their child asking the Tooth  Fairy for more money. And fewer (11 percent) say their kids have asked the Tooth Fairy for a gift instead of or in addition to  cash.

Encouraging Healthy  Habits
The Original Tooth Fairy Poll helps promote good dental hygiene habits that encourage healthy smiles across America. “We’re happy that, in addition to money, the Tooth Fairy is leaving gifts that help get kids excited to brush and floss their teeth. Delta Dental also encourages parents to introduce the Tooth Fairy as a way to discuss the importance of good oral health habits even before a child loses the first tooth,” Elliott  said.

For more information about The Original Tooth Fairy Poll, visit

About Delta Dental Plans Association
The not-for-profit Delta Dental Plans Association (, based in Oak Brook, Ill., is the leading national network of independent dental service corporations. Delta Dental provides dental benefits programs to 62 million Americans in more than 114,000 employee groups throughout the country. For more information, visit our website at

1Kelton, a leading global insights firm, conducted The Original Tooth Fairy Poll® on behalf of Delta Dental with 1,003 parents of children ages 6 to 12 across the United  States.

SOURCE Delta  Dental

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