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The Tooth Fairy teaches children about oral health and gives families a reason to celebrate

Posted on August 21, 2020 in Children’s Oral Health


tooth fairyDelta Dental of Illinois has been tracking the Tooth Fairy’s annual giving for 22 years in the Original Tooth Fairy Poll®

This National Tooth Fairy Day, Delta Dental of Illinois reminds families of the role the Tooth Fairy can play in teaching children about oral health. Celebrating a lost tooth is a great opportunity to encourage good oral health habits at home.

A new survey from Delta Dental of Illinois reveals that 80% of households with children receive visits from the Tooth Fairy, and these visits are motivated by a desire to give children something to be excited about, according to more than half of caregivers polled. In addition, 45% of caregivers report that having the Tooth Fairy visit gives them a reason to celebrate and 42% said it makes their child feel special.

Beyond celebrating a lost tooth, a visit from the Tooth Fairy instills good oral health habits in a positive way. Establishing good oral health habits early in life can help set the foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Along with taking children to the dentist, Delta Dental of Illinois offers these tips to help parents make sure their children have good oral health:

  • Brush all surfaces of the teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day.
  • Brush teeth gently for about two minutes and pay special attention to the gum line.
  • Floss teeth at least once a day.
  • Pack a healthy lunch. Limit not only sugary snacks, but also high-starch or refined carbohydrate foods. These foods include chips, pretzels, cookies, white bread and dried fruits, including raisins. Pack milk or water instead of juice to help wash down lunch. The bacteria that cause tooth decay thrive on simple sugars, especially those in sticky foods and drinks.

Delta Dental has created a trove of oral health education materials centered on the Tooth Fairy. We also put together a list of commonly asked questions parents may receive from their children regarding the Tooth Fairy. We encourage families to enjoy the resources, activities, and games together to learn more about oral health. 

Tooth Fairy payouts increase

According to the Original Tooth Fairy Poll®, the Tooth Fairy’s average cash gift increased 30 cents for a lost tooth, for a total of $4.03 per tooth. 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.

Delta Dental of Illinois has been analyzing the Tooth Fairy’s U.S. annual giving trends since 1998. The newly disclosed value of a lost tooth has more than tripled since its inception when the value of a lost tooth was $1.30, and now reaches its fourth highest payout in the history of the survey.

tooth fairy index

The value of lost tooth and the economy

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 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.

The Tooth Fairy is one of health care’s most powerful tools for teaching children about their oral health. By celebrating a lost tooth, children begin to learn the importance of their oral health in an engaging and fun way. At Delta Dental of Illinois, we continue to provide tools for parents, families and communities to educate young Americans about the importance of their oral health.

About the survey

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

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