Tooth fairy prices go up, down based on economy

Like most of the major U.S. stock indexes, the going rate for lost baby teeth posted double-digit gains in 2012, according to Delta Dental’s The Original Tooth Fairy Poll®.

The average gift from the tooth fairy climbed to $2.42 last year, up from $2.10 in 2011, a 15.2 percent gain.

The Original Tooth Fairy Poll® has generally been a good barometer of the market’s overall direction. In fact, the trend in tooth fairy giving has tracked with the movement of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (S&P 500) in nine of the past 10 years. In 2012, the S&P 500 gained 13.4 percent, similar to the tooth fairy gift’s 15.2 percent gain.

“As the leaders of the dental benefits industry, we look at all kinds of economic indicators,” said Bill Hupp, a spokesperson for Delta Dental Plans Association. “I’m happy to say that the tooth fairy delivered encouraging news about the country’s economic recovery in 2012.”

The first tooth has a higher valuation. Other interesting findings from poll, which surveyed more than 1,200 parents nationwide, include:

• The tooth fairy visited nearly 90 percent of U.S. homes with children who lost a tooth.

• The tooth fairy left cash for kids in 98 percent of the homes she visited. Two percent of children received toys, candy, gum or other gifts.

• Twenty-two percent of kids hit it rich and received $5 for each lost tooth.

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To get a sense of the taste and style choices of the tooth fairy, parents can follow her on Pinterest at


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