Children Racking Up Cash From the Tooth Fairy

Tooth Fairy payouts are soaring, posting record gains in 2016 and early 2017, according to the Original Tooth Fairy Poll, sponsored by Delta Dental.

The Tooth Fairy’s cash payouts have jumped to an all-time high over the past year, up to an average of $4.66 compared to $3.91 in 2015. In 2016, the Tooth Fairy paid an estimated $290.6 million for lost teeth, up 13.5% from the prior year. Cash payouts for a child’s first lost tooth, typically higher than average, are also up nearly 10% at $5.72.

According to the poll, the Tooth Fairy visits 85% of the nation’s households with children; and in 89% of those homes, leaves money. But, 56% of parents say the Tooth Fairy can be a little forgetful, neglecting to pick up the tooth on the first night.  

By region, Tooth Fairy payouts are highest in the West: $5.96 ($6.89 for the first tooth); followed by the Northeast at $5.08 ($6.31); the South at $4.57 ($4.88); and the Midwest at $4.04 ($5.70). 

An even split of children save (48%) and spend (48%) Tooth Fairy cash. However, 3% actually donate the money, and 1% even loan the cash out.

In addition to money, the Tooth Fairy often leaves gifts that strengthen children’s oral health habits, leaving toothbrushes (38%), dental floss (21%) and toothpaste (22%).

The Original Tooth Fairy Poll was conducted between January 24 and January 31, 2017, among a nationally representative sample of 1,588 parents of children ages 6 through 12.