Tooth Fairy Payouts Hit Hard Times

Average under-the-pillow gifts take a dip by 10 percent


PHOENIX, Ariz. (Feb. 21, 2019) - Parents, do not be surprised if a savvy kid holds on to a lost tooth until market conditions improve. The Tooth Fairy’s purse strings appear to be tighter than a year ago with the average monetary payout down by 43 cents. According to a new survey1 from Delta Dental of Arizona, the Tooth Fairy’s average cash gift declined to $3.70 for a lost tooth.

The Original Tooth Fairy Poll®, conducted by Delta Dental, 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 14 of the past 17 years. A year ago, a single lost tooth was valued at $4.13 and dropped to $3.70 in this year’s survey, down 10 percent. Over the same time period, the S&P 500 also saw a decline and decreased by 3 percent.

Delta Dental has been gauging the Tooth Fairy’s U.S. annual giving trends for more than two decades. Even though the average price of a tooth may be slipping, today’s going rate is still significantly greater than the 1998 national average of $1.30, which equates to about $2.00 today with inflation.

“While Tooth Fairy visits are a light-hearted way to have fun as a family and celebrate a key milestone in a child’s life—such as the loss of that first tooth—they also lend parents multiple opportunites to teach their children some valueable lessons,” said Tiffany Di Giacinto, director of marketing and communications at Delta Dental of Arizona. “From economic forecasting to oral health, these lessons can be carried on for generations to come.”

Other Tooth Fairy stats:

  • Joy: The Tooth Fairy gives kids something to be excited about, according to more than half of parents (56 percent).
  • Bedtime: Children go to bed early when leaving out a tooth say 30 percent of parents.
  • Savers: Children choose to save their Tooth Fairy earnings say nearly half of parents (48 percent).
  • Oral health: More than one-third of parents (34 percent) believe the Tooth Fairy instills good oral health habits.

Regional statistics:

  • Tooth Fairy payouts in the West continue to lead U.S. regions in highest average monetary gifts for a lost tooth at $4.19, but dropped 66 cents compared to a year ago; followed by the South at $4.12 sliding by 21 cents from last year; the Northeast closely follows the South at $3.75 tumbling by 60 cents; and the Midwest at $2.97 representing 73 cents less than the national average (3.70) and 47 cents lower than a year ago ($3.44)

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


About Delta Dental of Arizona
Delta Dental of Arizona is the leading dental benefits provider in Arizona, serving more than 1.2 million enrollees and more than 3,500 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 45 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


1The Original Tooth Fairy Poll was conducted between December 31, 2018, and January 13, 2019, among a nationally representative sample of 1,058 parents of children ages 6-12. The margin of error is +/- 3 percent.