For the First Time in 5 Years, Tooth Fairy is Less Generous – Especially in the Midwest

Tooth fairy index

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (Feb. 22, 2024) — Putting a tooth under the pillow doesn’t pay like it used to, according to the 2024 Original Tooth Fairy Poll® released by Delta Dental. This year’s findings reveal Midwest children, on average, receive $3.63 per tooth — that’s a 36% dip from last year’s average of $5.36.

While Midwest children are experiencing the most significant decline, the Tooth Fairy has scaled back her giving by 6% across the country. This marks the first decline in the national average of Tooth Fairy giving in five years. The new national average is $5.84, down from $6.23 last year.

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% increase since last year’s results.
  2. Northeast ($6.87): Increased 12% 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% drop, returning close to its 2021 average of $3.66.

“For 26 years, Delta Dental has been monitoring trends in U.S. Tooth Fairy giving, highlighting children’s oral health in the process,” says Dr. Jason Grinter, dental director at Delta Dental of Illinois. “The Tooth Fairy’s decision to tighten her purse strings after a peak in giving last year doesn’t surprise us. Despite smaller monetary gifts, the tradition of the Tooth Fairy remains a delightful way to encourage early conversations about maintaining good dental hygiene with children.”

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% over the past year, while the S&P 500 experienced a 20% increase during the same period.

For more information about the Original Tooth Fairy Poll and ways to make your child’s Tooth Fairy experience special, visit

For additional tips on protecting your oral health, visit

About the poll

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%. 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®.

About Delta Dental of Illinois

Delta Dental is the national dental benefits leader covering 1 in 3 Americans who have dental coverage. Delta Dental of Illinois is one of 39 member companies that make up the national Delta Dental system. Based in Naperville, Illinois, Delta Dental of Illinois provides dental benefit programs to more than 6,000 Illinois companies and covers 2 million individuals, employees and family members nationwide. Delta Dental of Illinois is committed to improving oral health in our community and furthers this commitment through the work of its 501(c)(3) charitable arm, Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation. In the past decade, combined efforts of Delta Dental of Illinois and Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation have provided more than $30 million to programs and organizations in Illinois that improve the oral health of the state’s residents. For additional information, visit