Seattle's Child

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Tooth Fairy payouts

What’s the Tooth Fairy leaving these days?

Even the Tooth Fairy is hit by inflation in 2023

Inflation is hitting everything these days, including Tooth Fairy payouts.

Delta Dental has been tracking the Tooth Fairy’s financials since 1998 and they tend to go up and up. Turns out even the Tooth Fairy can’t escape inflation. According to new Delta Dental findings from its 2023 the average value of a single lost tooth during the past year increased 16% from $5.36 to $6.23.

The new value of a single lost tooth in Washington state and the Western U.S. is now two cents higher than the national average of $6.25.

At this rate . . .

Since the poll’s inception, the average cash gift left by the Tooth Fairy has surged 379% from $1.30 to $6.23 per tooth. At this rate, in 2048, the Tooth Fairy would be leaving a whopping $30 under the pillow for a single tooth.

“Delta Dental has been analyzing the Tooth Fairy’s U.S. annual giving trends for a quarter century, highlighting the role of good oral health care habits for children,” said Gabriella Ferroni, Senior Director, Strategic Communications, Delta Dental Plans Association. “We know this time-honored tradition will continue to bring great joy to homes across the country, and we look forward to seeing how the Tooth Fairy’s giving changes over the next 25 years. Given the projection, it would be in the Tooth Fairy’s best interest to invest in a larger purse.”

Delta Dental, a dental benefits provider, uses the occasion of the Tooth Fairy poll to remind people about good dental hygiene. It quotes the Tooth Fairy themself as saying, “I love healthy teeth, and kids have been doing a great job keeping their smiles healthy. Keep brushing twice a day for two minutes, and don’t forget to floss!”

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, while the average value of a single lost tooth increased 16% over the past year, the S&P 500 experienced an 11% decline during the same period.

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

  1. South ($6.59): Led U.S. regions with the highest monetary gift for a lost tooth, marking a 14% increase since last year’s results.
  2. West ($6.25): Increased 53%, despite being only two cents higher than the national average.
  3. Northeast ($6.14): Dropped below the national average, after leading last year with $7.36 for a lost tooth.
  4. Midwest ($5.63): While still trailing the national average, it went up $1.36 (32%).

About the survey

The Original Tooth Fairy Poll® was conducted between Jan. 6, 2023 and Jan. 19, 2023, among 1,000 parents of children ages 6 to 12. The margin of error is +/- 3%. The January 2022 S&P 500 average was 4,410 and decreased to an average of 3,942 for January 2023, consistent with the timing of the Original Tooth Fairy Poll®.

Recently lost a tooth?

For more information about the Delta Dental-sponsored survey and oral health tips for infants to pre-teen, visit the Original Tooth Fairy Poll. For more on the histy of the tooth fairy, you may want to check outWhere did the Tooth Fairy come from? A fun history for kids.”

More at Seattle’s Child:

‘Feeding Your Smile’ program

About the Author

Julie Hanson

Julie Hanson is a longtime journalist, South King County resident and mom to a 15-year-old girl.