Dental News - Poll: Tooth Fairy giving drops for first time in 5 years

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Poll: Tooth Fairy giving drops for first time in 5 years

(Photo: Provided by Delta Dental)
Dental Tribune USA

Dental Tribune USA

Fri. 15 March 2024

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The slowing of U.S. inflation has trickled down to the Tooth Fairy. New Delta Dental findings from its 2024 Original Tooth Fairy Poll revealed the average value of a single lost tooth during the past year declined by 6 percent from $6.23 to $5.84. This represents the first year-over-year decline in Tooth Fairy giving in five years.

While the loss of a first tooth typically commands a premium, the poll also found the Tooth Fairy is minding her pennies in celebration of this milestone with the average value dropping from $7.29 to $7.09 over the past year.

"Delta Dental has tracked U.S. Tooth Fairy giving trends for 26 years as a timely way to spotlight the importance of children's oral health," said Gabriella Ferroni, senior director, strategic communications, Delta Dental Plans Association. "It is not a surprise to see she tightened her purse strings following last year's record high. Despite the more economical reward, Tooth Fairy giving is a fun conversation starter to encourage good oral hygiene habits at an early age."

The worth of a lost tooth and the economy
Historically, the Original Tooth Fairy Poll has typically mirrored the economy's overall direction, tracking with the trends of Standard & Poor's 500 Index (S&P 500). However, in 2023, the value of a lost tooth went in a different direction, and it continues in 2024. The average value of a single lost tooth decreased 6 percent over the past year, while the S&P 500 experienced a 20 percent increase during the same period.

U.S. regional ranking for the average value of a lost tooth 

  1. West ($8.54):Surged ahead of the pack to lead U.S. regions with the highest monetary gift for a lost tooth, marking a 37 percent increase since last year's results.
  2. Northeast ($6.87): Increased 12 percent and surpassed the national average by more than $1.00.
  3. South ($5.51): Dropped below the national average, after leading last year with $6.59 for a lost tooth.
  4. Midwest ($3.63): Significantly trailed the national average with a 36 percent drop, returning close to its 2021 average of $3.66.

Editorial note:

The Original Tooth Fairy Poll was conducted between Jan. 3, 2024, and Jan. 17, 2024, among 1,000 parents of children ages 6 to 12. The margin of error is +/- 3 percent. The January 2023 S&P 500 average was 3,942 and increased to an average of 4,746 for January 2024, consistent with the timing of the Original Tooth Fairy Poll.

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