Tooth Fairy thrifty in the Midwest while other states see over $5 per tooth

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

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (Feb. 23, 2021) – The Tooth Fairy continues to give Midwestern kids the least amount of money for a lost tooth, while other areas of the country are seeing significant increases in giving despite the pandemic.

Children in the Midwest receive an average of $3.66 for a lost tooth – down a nickel from last year, according to the latest Original Tooth Fairy Poll results released by Delta Dental of Illinois.

Meanwhile, about half the kids in the nation are receiving more than $5 a tooth. The West saw a nearly $2 increase over the past two years, up to $5.54. The Northeast continues to lead the nation with a giving rate of $5.72. And the South saw a modest increase to $4.45.

“Regardless of the dollar amount, many families have fun anticipating the arrival of the Tooth Fairy to celebrate the loss of a tooth,” said Dr. Sheila Strock, vice president of dental services and science officer at Delta Dental of Illinois. “Preparing for a visit from the Tooth Fairy is a great opportunity for parents to educate their children about the importance of good oral health habits such as brushing twice a day, flossing daily, eating and drinking tooth-friendly foods and beverages, and visiting the dentist regularly.”

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and Feb. 28 is National Tooth Fairy Day. Parents say Tooth Fairy visits not only help their children develop good oral health habits, but also give them something to be excited about. In fact, more than 1 in 4 parents said a visit from the Tooth Fairy was one of their child’s favorite surprises during the pandemic. Kids often go to bed earlier when they’re expecting a visit from the Tooth Fairy and tend to save their Tooth Fairy earnings.

The Original Tooth Fairy Poll has typically mirrored the economy's overall direction, tracking with Standard & Poor's 500 Index (S&P 500) for 16 of the past 19 years. Last year, a single lost tooth was valued at $4.03 nationwide, and this year’s survey shows upward growth to $4.70, a 17% increase. Over the same time period, the S&P 500 also experienced growth with a 19% increase, reaching its highest average since the inception of the Original Tooth Fairy survey.

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 tripled 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 online Dec. 28, 2020 to Jan. 8, 2021 among a nationally representative sample of 1,009 parents of children ages 6 to 12. The margin of error is +/- 3.1%.

The January 2020 S&P 500 average was 3,159 and increased to an average of 3,750 for January 2021.

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 Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation.