GLENDALE, Ariz. (Feb. 23, 2017) — An unlikely but accurate economic indicator, 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.
That could spell even better things to come for the economy. The Original Tooth Fairy Poll1 has typically served as a good indicator of the economy’s overall direction, tracking with the movement of Standard & Poor’s 500 index (S&P 500) for 12 of the past 13 years. This year’s poll shows Tooth Fairy payouts are nearly right on target—within a few percentage points—with a 19.18 percent increase in cash payouts amount as the S&P 500 saw an increase of 19.61 percent compared to the same time last year.
In 2016, the Tooth Fairy paid an estimated $290.6 million for lost teeth, up 13.5 percent from the prior year. Cash payouts for a child’s first lost tooth, typically higher than average, are also up nearly 10 percent at $5.72.
“In addition to the excitement a visit from the Tooth Fairy brings, she also delivers lessons in finance and good oral health,” said Tiffany Di Giacinto, director of marketing and communications for Delta Dental of Arizona. “Having conversations with children about good oral health habits from an early age can help establish strong habits for a lifetime, and the Tooth Fairy can be a great way to help spark those conversations.”
According to the poll, the Tooth Fairy visits 85 percent of the nation’s households with children; and in 89 percent of those homes, she leaves money. But 56 percent 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 percent) and spend (48 percent) Tooth Fairy cash; however, 3 percent actually donate the money, and a savvy one percent 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 percent), dental floss (21 percent) and toothpaste (22 percent).
For tips on talking to your child about good oral health habits or for ideas on making the first Tooth Fairy visit extra-special, visit the Delta Dental of Arizona Blog at www.deltadentalazblog.com.
About Delta Dental of Arizona
Delta Dental of Arizona is the leading dental benefits provider in Arizona, serving more than 1 million enrollees and more than 3,300 contracted dentists across the state. Passionate about oral health and its importance to generations of families, Delta Dental of Arizona has worked for more than 40 years to improve oral health by emphasizing preventive care and making dental coverage accessible to a wide variety of employers, groups and individuals. For more information about Delta Dental of Arizona, visit www.deltadentalaz.com.
1 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 6-12. The margin of error is +/- 2.5 percent