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February 23, 2022
Value of a Lost Tooth Dips Back Down to 2020 Level

While the rest of the country has seen a bump up in payout from the Tooth Fairy, kids in the western region of the U.S. have received an average of $1.46 less in cash gifts after losing a tooth, down to $4.08 per tooth, just 11 cents more than 2020’s payout. The average cash gift nationally reached $5.36 per tooth, which is a record high in the 24-year history of the Original Tooth Fairy Poll, sponsored by Delta Dental.

Last year kids in the western region experienced a whopping $1.57 increase, achieving $5.54 per tooth before this year’s drop.

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 17 of the past 19 years. Last year, a single lost tooth was valued at $4.70, and this year's survey shows upward growth to $5.36, a 14-percent increase. Over the same time, the S&P 500 also experienced growth, with a 17.6-percent increase, reaching its highest average since the inception of the Original Tooth Fairy survey.

Tooth Fairy Index

Delta Dental 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 quadrupled since its inception when the value of a lost tooth was $1.30. This year’s poll illuminates the highest all-time average gift of $5.36 per tooth, which is 66 cents (14 percent) higher than the previous peak at $4.70 last year and well over $1 (33 percent) more per tooth since 2020 ($4.03).

The Delta Dental of Washington Tooth Fairy weighed in on this year’s national payout increase, “I love healthy teeth, and kids have been doing a great job keeping their smiles healthy. Keep brushing twice a day for two minutes, and don’t forget to floss!”

Regional Statistics:

  • $7.36 – The Northeast: Continues to lead U.S. regions in the highest average monetary gift for a lost tooth, rocketing $2 above the national average and marking a $1.64 gain over the previous year’s results.
  • $5.77 – The South: Continues to track most closely to the overall U.S. average and shows a $1.32 increase.
  • $4.27 – The Midwest: Although lower than the national average, up 61 cents.
  • $3.66 – The West: Represents the only U.S. region with a downward giving trend, with the average monetary gift for a lost tooth plunging by $1.46.

About the Survey

The Original Tooth Fairy Poll was conducted between January 19 and 28, 2022, among a nationally representative sample of 1,000+ parents of children ages six to12. The margin of error is +/- 3 percent. The January 2021 S&P 500 average was 3,750 and increased to an average of 4,410 for January 2022, consistent with the timing of the Original Tooth Fairy Poll. For more information about the Delta Dental-sponsored survey and oral health tips for infants to pre-teen, visit Original Tooth Fairy Poll.