Whether a result of inflation or feeling generous as children struggled with lockdowns and social distancing through the pandemic, the tooth fairy is paying its highest price ever for teeth.
Delta Dental’s 2022 Original Tooth Fairy Poll shows the Tooth Fairy’s average payment reached $5.36 per tooth, a record high in the 24-year history of the survey. The value of a lost tooth has more than quadrupled since the poll’s inception in 1998 when the value of a lost tooth was $1.30.
The $5.36 per tooth payment is 66 cents (14%) higher than the previous peak at $4.70 last year and well over $1 more per tooth (33%) since 2020 ($4.03).
“One in five parents share that the Tooth Fairy was one of their child’s favorite surprises during the pandemic,” says André Richards, assistant vice president, brand strategy and management, Delta Dental Plans Association. “With this year’s Delta Dental-sponsored national poll reflecting double-digit growth in Tooth Fairy giving, perhaps the Tooth Fairy is experiencing the effects of inflation along with being very generous.”
Delta Dental says the poll’s findings have typically mirrored the economy’s overall direction, tracking with the trends of the S&P 500 for 17 of the past 20 years. Last year, a single lost tooth was valued at $4.70, and this year’s survey indicates a 14% upward growth to $5.36. Over the same time, the S&P 500 experienced a 17.6% increase.
The Northeast continues to lead U.S. regions in highest average monetary payment for a lost tooth, at $7.36, rocketing $2 above the national average and marking a $1.64 gain over the previous year’s results. The South continues to track most closely to the overall U.S. average and shows a $1.32 increase, at $5.77. In the Midwest, the value of a lost tooth is $4.27, up 61 cents from last year.
However, the West represents the only U.S. region with a downward giving trend, at $4.08, down by $1.46.
The Original Tooth Fairy Poll was conducted between January 19 and January 28, among a nationally representative sample of more than 1,000 parents of children ages 6 to 12.
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