Tooth Fairy fiscally conservative in Illinois

Posted on February 23, 2015 in Children’s Oral Health

The Tooth Fairy was less generous in Illinois in 2014 than other parts of the country, according to The Original Tooth Fairy Poll® sponsored by Delta Dental of Illinois.1 Nationally, parents reported the going rate for a lost baby tooth was $4.36 last year,2 while the average in Illinois was just $2.89. Despite her stinginess, the Tooth Fairy still left a staggering $6.9 million for lost teeth in Illinois based on Delta Dental of Illinois estimates.

According to the poll, the Tooth Fairy was more generous with first-time tooth losers, leaving more money for the first tooth, than for subsequent teeth, in 42 percent of Illinois homes. On average, the amount given for the first tooth was $3.75.

“Tooth Fairy visits are a great way to make losing teeth less scary and more enjoyable for kids,” said Dr. Katina Spadoni, dental director for Delta Dental of Illinois. “Children start losing baby teeth around age 6. Before this age, parents should teach kids about good oral health habits and healthy teeth, and let kids know that healthy teeth make the Tooth Fairy happy.”

The Tooth Fairy Leaves More than Money

Delta Dental of Illinois' survey found that in 95 percent of the Illinois homes she visited, the Tooth Fairy left cash for kids, either by itself or in combination with other gifts. Kids who got a gift in addition to or instead of cash most often received a toy, game, toothbrush, toothpaste, book, doll, stuffed animal or dental floss.

Other findings from The Original Tooth Fairy Poll, which surveyed parents across Illinois, include:

  • Nearly two in three parents (66 percent) of 6- to 12-year-olds report their children believe in the Tooth Fairy. That is about the same amount (67 percent) as those who say their kids believe in Santa Claus.
  • The Tooth Fairy visited 81 percent of Illinois homes with children who lost a tooth.
  • The amount of spare cash on hand (47 percent) or the child's age (43 percent) are the most mentioned reasons for how much is left by the Tooth Fairy.
  • Most kids seem satisfied with their gift. Only 13 percent of Illinois parents can recall their child asking the Tooth Fairy for more money. And fewer (12 percent) say their kids have asked the Tooth Fairy for a gift instead of or in addition to cash.
  • The Tooth Fairy has forgotten to visit one in three Illinois homes (33 percent) at some point in the past.
  • The Tooth Fairy was generally stingiest with kids in the Midwest, leaving an average of just $2.83 per tooth. Kids in the South raked in the dough, receiving $5.16 per tooth. And kids in the West and Northeast didn't fare so bad either, receiving $4.68 and $4.16 respectively.

“It can be hard for young kids to understand the importance of oral health, but the Tooth Fairy is doing a great job of helping them get more excited about taking care of their teeth by leaving gifts that promote brushing and flossing,” Spadoni said.

For more information about The Original Tooth Fairy Poll and ways to make your child's Tooth Fairy experience extra special, visit

1Kelton, a leading global insights firm, conducted the 2015 Delta Dental of Illinois Original Tooth Fairy Poll. Interviews were conducted statewide via email with 162 parents of children ages 12 and under. For results based on the total sample of Illinois adults, the margin of error is ±7.7 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

2Kelton, a leading global insights firm, conducted The Original Tooth Fairy Poll® on behalf of Delta Dental with 1,003 parents of children ages 6 to 12 across the United States.