Believing in the Tooth Fairy Is Good For Your Little One’s Oral Health

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How does your family celebrate a lost tooth? Placing your little one’s tooth under their pillow to wait for a visit from the Tooth Fairy cam help promote good oral hygiene. This National Tooth Fairy Day, Delta Dental reminds families of the role the Tooth Fairy can play in teaching children about oral health.

tooth fairy

A new survey from Delta Dental reveals that 80% of households with children receive visits from the Tooth Fairy, and these visits are motivated by a desire to give children something to be excited about, according to more than half of caregivers polled. In addition, 45% of caregivers report that having the Tooth Fairy visit gives them a reason to celebrate and 42% said it makes their child feel special.

Beyond celebrating a lost tooth, a visit from the Tooth Fairy instills good oral health habits in a positive way according to one third of respondents. Delta Dental has created a trove of oral health education materials centered on the Tooth Fairy. We encourage families to enjoy the resources, activities, and games together to learn more about oral health. 

Tooth Fairy Poll

According to the Original Tooth Fairy Poll, the Tooth Fairy’s average cash gift increased 30 cents for a lost tooth, for a total of $4.03 per tooth.

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 tripled since its inception when the value of a lost tooth was $1.30, and now reaches its fourth highest payout in the history of the survey.

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 15 of the past 18 years. Last year, a single lost tooth was valued at $3.70 and this year’s survey shows upward growth to $4.03, an increase of nearly 9%. Over the same time period, the S&P 500 also experienced growth, with a 22% increase, reaching its highest average since the inception of the Original Tooth Fairy survey.

“The Tooth Fairy is one of health care’s most powerful tools for teaching children about their oral health,” said Jennifer Elliott, Chief Marketing Officer, Delta Dental Plans Association. “By celebrating a lost tooth, children begin to learn the importance of their oral health in an engaging and fun way. At Delta Dental, we continue to provide tools for parents, families and communities to educate young Americans about the importance of their oral health and our 22nd year of this survey shows our dedication to keeping the Tooth Fairy an active part of oral health education.”

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.

For more information about the Delta Dental-sponsored survey and oral health tips for infants to pre-teen, visit Original Tooth Fairy Poll.

—Jennifer Swartvagher

All photos courtesy of Delta Dental


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