For the first time in 12 years, the Tooth Fairy Poll doesn’t track with the stock market.

Are kids getting ripped off by the Tooth Fairy?

Since 2006, the amount parents exchange for baby teeth has indicated how strong the economy is, says the Original Tooth Fairy Poll. But not this year: Stock values are up 18 percent, but the average price per tooth is down 11 percent.

“The Original Tooth Fairy Poll 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 12 of the past 14 years,” the study says. “The December 2017 poll shows the Tooth Fairy hasn’t quite been able to keep up with the market’s hot pace.”

How much is the Tooth Fairy paying?

The majority (84 percent) of families in the U.S. participate in the Tooth Fairy myth, and 95 percent of them leave cash that adds up to $271 million across the country. But how much does each kid get?

Kids receive $4.13 per tooth on average, says the annual study from Delta Dental Plans. The 60-year-old national insurance company has been tracking “Tooth Fairy payouts” since 1998, and it usually coincides with the trends in Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index.

This year it isn’t, and the average price per tooth is down from a record high of $4.66 last year. It’s down even further than it was in 2014, when the Tooth Fairy poll showed average costs per tooth at $4.36.

Kids should be happy prices aren’t as low 2013, when they were getting only $3.50 a tooth.

First timers aren’t missing out on much, though. The average cost for the first lost tooth is $5.70, which is only down two cents from last year.

And at least those kids get money. Not all do.

What else does the Tooth Fairy leave?

Some parents either can’t afford or choose to give their kids something other than money. 

  • 47 percent: leave a small toy or game
  • 35 percent: leave a letter from the Tooth Fairy
  • 31 percent: leave a tooth brush

And unfortunately, sometimes mom and dad just forget. More than half (55 percent) of parents admit they’ve missed a visit from the fairy.

What age do kids stop believing in the Tooth Fairy?

Delta Dental surveys over a thousand parents of 6-12 year olds every year, because that’s the age they should lose their baby teeth by. But do 12-year-olds still believe in the Tooth Fairy? Most don’t, says parenting advice site aha! Kids start to question the Tooth Fairy myth around 4-7 years old.

But those that do believe in the Tooth Fairy more than Santa Claus, says an interesting study on young children’s early imaginations from the late 1970s.

At the age of four, 85 percent of kids still believe in Santa. When they turn eight only a quarter (25 percent) do, but 60 percent still believe in the Tooth Fairy at that age. The funny thing about that is the Tooth Fairy hasn’t been around as long as Santa Claus.

The story of Santa Claus dates all the way back to the third century, according to the History Channel. The Tooth Fairy that we know didn’t take form in print until 1927, and seems to be an American tradition, according to folklorist Rosemary Wells. She and another folklore researcher, Tad Tuleja, uncovered the story in 1991.

If your kids still believe in the Tooth Fairy, and you don’t know how much to give them, check out this Tooth Fairy Calculator from Visa. Yes, it’s a real thing, and it comes in handy.

free debt analysis call 855-654-9191

Meet the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Associate editor

Pye is the associate editor of


economy, parents

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Article last modified on September 10, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: The Tooth Fairy’s Drilling Down on a Budget - AMP.