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Tooth Fairy giving in the Midwest rebounds after several years of decline

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

Naperville, Ill. - Feb. 21, 2020 - According to the latest Original Tooth Fairy Poll results released by Delta Dental of Illinois, the value of a lost tooth has greatly improved in the Midwest and across the nation when compared to the last couple of years.

The average amount Midwestern kids receive for a lost tooth is up 74 cents this year, with the Tooth Fairy now leaving an average of $3.71 per tooth. That’s a 25% increase over last year when payouts dipped to a three-year low of $2.97.

“Illinois kids might be getting excited by how much the Tooth Fairy has loosened her purse strings this year,” said Dr. Sheila Strock, vice president of dental services and science officer at Delta Dental of Illinois. “Each lost tooth provides a great opportunity for parents to educate their children in a fun way about the importance of good oral health habits like brushing twice a day, flossing daily and visiting the dentist regularly.”

But giving by the Tooth Fairy is still less than three years ago, when kids in the Midwest were receiving $4.04 a tooth.

And despite this year’s growth, the Tooth Fairy continues to bring Midwestern kids the smallest cash gifts in the nation. They’re receiving 64 cents less than the Northeast ($4.35), 30 cents less than the South ($4.01), 26 cents less than the West ($3.97) and 32 cents less than the national average ($4.03). Some kids nationwide (45%) are getting even luckier, receiving at least $5 for each lost tooth.

The size of those gaps appears to be shrinking, though. Disparity in Tooth Fairy giving between the Midwest and the rest of the nation was much larger last year, ranging from a difference of 73 cents to $1.22.

Delta Dental has been analyzing the Tooth Fairy’s U.S. annual giving trends for 22 years, since 1998. The newly disclosed national value of a lost tooth has more than tripled since its inception when the value of a lost tooth was $1.30. This year’s national giving rate is the fourth highest payout in the history of the survey.

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) for 15 of the past 18 years. Last year, a single lost tooth was valued at $3.70 nationwide and this year’s survey shows upward growth to $4.03, an increase of nearly 9%. Over the same time period, the S&P 500 also experienced growth with a 22% increase, reaching its highest average since the inception of the Original Tooth Fairy survey.

About the survey

The Original Tooth Fairy Poll was conducted Dec. 30, 2019 to Jan. 11, 2020 among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 parents of children ages 6 to 12. The margin of error is +/- 3%.

The S&P 500 stood at 2,596 on Jan. 11, 2019 and increased to an average of 3,159 for Jan. 2020.

About Delta Dental of Illinois

Delta Dental is the national dental benefits leader covering 1 in 3 Americans who have dental insurance. 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 Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation.