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)

Fri. 15 March 2024


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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