The Value of a Lost Tooth is on the Rise: 30 Cent Increase Marks Upward Trend

Delta Dental celebrates 22 years of tracking the Tooth Fairy’s U.S. annual giving   

GLENDALE, Ariz. (Feb. 20, 2020) - The Tooth Fairy is feeling more generous these days, according to a new survey1 from Delta Dental of Arizona. Findings from Delta Dental’s Original Tooth Fairy Poll® show a 30-cent increase in the Tooth Fairy’s average cash gift for a total of $4.03 per tooth.

“The Tooth Fairy is one of the most powerful tools caregivers have to teach children about oral health,” said Tiffany Di Giacinto, director of marketing and communications for Delta Dental of Arizona. “By celebrating a lost tooth, parents can reinforce the importance of good oral health in a fun and engaging way. Delta Dental of Arizona is excited to provide parents, families and communities tools to educate children about the importance of good oral health—and our 22 years of tracking Tooth Fairy giving shows our dedication to keeping the Tooth Fairy a vibrant and active part of oral health education.”

The average value of a lost tooth has more than tripled since Delta Dental began analyzing the Tooth Fairy’s annual giving trends in 1998, when the value of a lost tooth was $1.30. The current value of a lost tooth—$4.03—is the fourth highest payout in the history of the survey.

The Original Tooth Fairy Poll typically mirrors the economy’s overall direction, tracking with the movement of Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) for 15 of the past 18 years. Over the last year, the average Tooth Fairy payout increased nearly 9%. Over the same time period, the S&P 500 also experienced growth, with a 22% increase2 , reaching its highest average since the inception of the Original Tooth Fairy Poll.

Other Tooth Fairy stats:

  • The Tooth Fairy visits 4 out of 5 of the nation’s household with children.
  • Children tend to receive more money for their first tooth lost, averaging $5.32 ($1.29 more than the per-tooth average).
  • 56% of parents confess that the Tooth Fairy missed a visit.
  • While the Tooth Fairy leaves money at 95% of the homes she visits, some parents say that the Tooth Fairy leaves a physical gift, such as a small toy or game, a letter from the Tooth Fairy or a toothbrush, in addition to or instead of money.

Regional statistics:

  • $4.35 – The Northeast: Leads U.S. regions in highest average monetary gift for a lost tooth, outranking The West, which led the previous two years in a row.
  • $4.01 – The South: Tracks most closely to the overall U.S. average.
  • $3.97 – The West: Decreased 22 cents, moving from highest regional average last year to third regional average this year.
  • $3.71 – The Midwest: Increased 74 cents over last year but remains lower than the national average for the second year in a row.

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. Since 2010, Delta Dental of Arizona, through its Foundation, gave $7 million to support oral health education and disease prevention programs for underserved and uninsured communities across the state. For more information about Delta Dental of Arizona, visit

1 The Original Tooth Fairy Poll was conducted between December 30, 2019, and January 11, 2020, among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 parents of children ages 6-12. The margin of error is +/- 3%.

2 The S&P 500 stood at 2,596 on January 11, 2019 and increased to an average of 3,159 for January 2020.