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Tooth Fairy pays record $255 million for lost teeth in 2014

Staff writer |
Kids are benefiting from the recovering U.S. economy, with the average gift from the Tooth Fairy reaching a new high of $4.36 last year, up from $3.50 in 2013.

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In 2014, the Tooth Fairy left a staggering $255 million for lost teeth, according to Delta Dental's The Original Tooth Fairy Poll.

The Original Tooth Fairy Poll has generally been a good indicator of the economy's overall direction. In fact, the trend in Tooth Fairy giving has tracked with the movement of the Standard & Poor's 500 index (S&P 500) in 11 of the past 12 years.

In 2014, both the average Tooth Fairy gift and the S&P 500 posted double-digit gains for the third year in a row, with 24.6 percent and 11.4 percent increases respectively.

Delta Dental's survey found that in 88 percent of the homes she visited, the Tooth Fairy left cash for kids, either by itself or in combination with other gifts. Kids who got a gift in addition to or instead of cash most often received a toy, game, toothbrush, toothpaste, book, doll, stuffed animal or dental floss.

The Tooth Fairy visited 81 percent of U.S. homes with children who lost a tooth. The amount of spare cash on hand (44 percent) or the child's age (39 percent) are the most mentioned reasons for how much is left by the Tooth Fairy.

The Tooth Fairy was more generous with first-time tooth losers, leaving more money for the first tooth in 40 percent of homes. On average, the amount given for the first tooth was $5.74, a 27 percent increase from 2013.

The Tooth Fairy was stingiest with kids in the Midwest, leaving just $2.83 per tooth. Kids in the South raked in the dough, receiving $5.16 per tooth. And kids in the West and Northeast didn't fare so bad either, receiving $4.68 and $4.16 respectively.

Kids with younger parents also received more money from the Tooth Fairy. Kids with parents under age 35 received the most ($5.40 per tooth), followed by kids with parents ages 35 to 44 ($4.24 per tooth) and parents ages 45 and older ($2.45 per tooth).

Most kids seem satisfied with their gift. Only 17 percent of parents can recall their child asking the Tooth Fairy for more money. And fewer (11 percent) say their kids have asked the Tooth Fairy for a gift instead of or in addition to cash.

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