Data: Tooth Fairy is Paying less for Teeth in 2019

February 27, 2019

Kids can expect lower payouts from the Tooth Fairy in 2019.

Just like the stock market, the tooth fairy’s budget for lost teeth goes through its ups and downs. And based on current market conditions, your kid may want to consider holding on to that tooth until things start to improve.

That’s because a recent survey by Delta Dental shows that the average cash payout for teeth is actually down this year by 43 cents. While it’s still a big improvement from when our poll began in 2001 (hovering around $1.50) there is still room for improvement in terms of your ROTI, also known as your return on tooth investment. Here are the biggest takeaways from the survey.

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Total Money Payout From the Tooth Fairy is Down

This year our survey results showed that the average cash gift amount for a tooth dropped to $3.70 per tooth, which is about 43 cents less than it was in 2018. However, 37 percent of parents admit to leaving five dollars or more for a single tooth.

Inflation Impacts Tooth Fairy Gift Amounts

Because the tooth fairy poll has been tracked since 2001, we’re able to see how inflation has impacted gift amounts over time. Although it seems like the payout for teeth has decreased significantly over the years, it’s still greater than the 1998 average of $1.30, which actually equals about $2.00 per tooth when you account for inflation.

When it Comes to Tooth Payouts, the West is the Best.

Using the Tooth Fairy poll, we were able to break down the survey responses by region. As it turns out, kids on the west coast enjoy higher cash rewards for teeth, while those in the midwest region actually receive the smallest cash gift, only getting around $2.97 per tooth.The full breakdown looks like this

  • Western region - $4.19 per tooth
  • Southern region - $3.91 per tooth
  • Northeast region - $3.75 per tooth
  • Midwest region - $2.97 per tooth

Survey Methodology

The 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. The S&P 500 stood at 2,687 on December 28, 2017, and decreased to 2,596 by January 11, 2019, down 3 percent.