Tooth Fairy gives Midwestern teeth a 61-cent raise

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

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (Feb. 23, 2022) – Historically, the Midwest has been at the bottom of the Tooth Fairy’s pay scale — kids in the heartland received the least amount of money for a lost tooth for many years. However, in 2022 the region got a 61-cent pay raise, climbing ahead in national rankings.

Children in the Midwest receive an average of $4.27 for a lost tooth – up 61 cents from last year, according to the Original Tooth Fairy Poll® results released by Delta Dental of Illinois.

Meanwhile, the average national cash gift from the Tooth Fairy has reached $5.36 per tooth, a record high in the 24-year history of the poll. The Northeast continues to lead the nation with a giving rate of $7.36, skyrocketing $2 above the national average and marking a $1.64 gain from last year. The South continues to track closest to the national average at $5.77. The West was the only region that showed a downward spike in giving going from $5.54 last year to $4.08.

“Almost 80 percent of families across the country look forward to and find joy in anticipating the Tooth Fairy’s arrival after losing a tooth, regardless of the dollar amount,” said Dr. Sheila Strock, vice president of dental services and science officer at Delta Dental of Illinois. “An upcoming visit from their favorite fairy is also a fantastic opportunity to inform and educate young ones on the importance of consistent oral health habits like brushing twice a day, flossing each day, eating and drinking healthy foods and beverages, and visiting the dentist regularly.”

A fitting finale for National Children’s Dental Health Month, Feb. 28 is National Tooth Fairy Day. More than 9 in 10 parents admit they play the role of the Tooth Fairy in their homes. The tradition helps their children develop good oral health habits – and parents value the joy the Tooth Fairy brings more than ever as the pandemic continues. Thirty-five percent of parents felt the Tooth Fairy was the perfect way to spread joy in a year when they needed it the most.

The Original Tooth Fairy Poll continues to mirror the economy's overall direction, tracking with Standard & Poor's 500 Index (S&P 500) for 17 of the past 20 years. Last year, a single lost tooth was valued at $4.70 nationwide, and this year’s survey shows upward growth to $5.36, a 14% increase. Over the same time period, the S&P 500 also experienced growth with a 17.6% increase.

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

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 in an online survey from Jan. 19, 2022 to Jan. 28, 2022 among a nationally representative sample of 1,060 parents of children ages 6 to 12. The margin of error is +/- 3%.

The January 2021 S&P 500 average was 3,750 and increased to an average of 4,410 for January 2022.

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.