Seattle's Child

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Photo courtesy of Delta Dental

How much does the Tooth Fairy pay for a tooth? Here’s the national rundown

And the increase from 2020 was biggest out here in the West.

Hold on to your wallets, parents: Tooth Fairy payouts have hit an all-time high.

That’s according to the latest installment of the “Original Tooth Fairy Poll” by dental-benefit provider Delta Dental.

[ Stay in the know: Here’s the Tooth Fairy report for 2022 ]

The average cash gift for a tooth, according to the national survey of 1,000 parents taken in early 2021, is $4.70. That’s up 17% from last year’s figure — and parents here in the West have upped their game even more, increasing by an average of $1.57 to get to $5.54 per tooth.

Here’s the geographic and monetary breakdown:

$5.72: The Northeast again leads U.S. regions with the highest average monetary gift for a lost tooth.
$5.54: The West saw the biggest year-over-year increase.
$4.45: The South is closest to the overall U.S. average.
$3.66: The Midwest is lower than the national average for the third straight year.

Delta Dental has been analyzing the Tooth Fairy’s U.S. annual giving trends since 1998, when the average was a humble $1.30, by the way.

The Tooth Fairy, asked to weigh in on the situation, reportedly told Delta Dental: “Kids need to be brushing and taking care of their teeth. I tend to pay more for healthy teeth so let’s keep brushing those teeth for two minutes two times a day, and don’t forget to floss!”

Where did the Tooth Fairy come from, anyway? Find out! Here’s where to find more on the history or methodology of the Tooth Fairy Poll. They’ve also got lots of fun tooth-fairy-related kid content including sample letters, coloring pages, certificates and more. And more general tooth-care topics from Delta Dental here.

More on kids’ health in Seattle’s Child


Originally published in 2020; updated Feb. 24, 2021.




About the Author

Julie Hanson