Tooth Fairy Feels the Impact of Inflation in the Midwest

Delta Dental of Illinois releases results of latest Original Tooth Fairy Poll®Delta Dental of Illinois releases results of latest Original Tooth Fairy Poll®

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (Feb. 23, 2023) – Midwestern children are rejoicing as they cash in on a generous 32% raise from the Tooth Fairy. Their earnings per lost tooth is an average of $5.63 – up $1.36 from last year, according to the Original Tooth Fairy Poll® results released by Delta Dental of Illinois.

Children in the Midwest aren’t the only ones enjoying a boost from the Tooth Fairy. Inflation can be seen across most the country with the average national cash gift from the Tooth Fairy reaching $6.23 per tooth, a record high in the 25-year history of the poll. The South leads the nation with a rate of $6.59, marking a 82-cent gain from last year. The West continues to track close to the national average at $6.25, rising 53% from 2022. The Northeast was the only region with tooth earnings showing a downward spike, going from $7.36 last year to $6.14 this year.

“No matter the dollar amount, a visit from the Tooth Fairy is fun for the whole family. Over 80 percent of families across the country look forward to the Tooth Fairy’s arrival,” said Dr. Jason Grinter, dental director for Delta Dental of Illinois. “Celebrating a lost tooth is also a great time for parents to talk to their children about the importance of a healthy smile. You can use the Tooth Fairy’s visit to reinforce good habits like brushing twice a day, flossing each day, choosing smile-friendly foods and beverages, and visiting the dentist regularly.”

More than 9 of 10 parents admit they play the role of the Tooth Fairy in their homes. Not only does the tradition give children the chance to celebrate something exciting, but 36% of parents report the Tooth Fairy helps foster their child’s imagination while also instilling good oral health habits.

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.

Delta Dental has been analyzing the Tooth Fairy’s U.S. annual giving trends since 1998. 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.

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 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®.

About the 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 6,500 Illinois companies and covers more than 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 Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation.