It's a good time to be a kid losing teeth.
According to a new poll by insurance company Delta Dental, kids receive an average of $5.36 per lost tooth — an all-time high since the annual poll launched in 1998 that reflects a 14% increase compared to last year’s profits of $4.70 per tooth. In 2020, kids received about $4.03 per tooth, up from $3.70 the year prior.
Interestingly, the latest magical payouts differ geographically: In the southern part of the U.S., baby teeth score an average of $5.77, kids on the West coast wake up to $4.08 and Midwesterners receive $4.27. Kids in the Northeast, however, score big with $7.36.
The more pressing issue (to curious kids anyway): What does the tooth fairy do with all that enamel? "The Tooth Fairy collects lost baby teeth to build her castle in Glitterville," Dave Hawsey, vice president of marketing at Delta Dental of Arkansas, said in a press release. "Economics teaches us that a surge in demand for particular goods results in higher prices, so if the Tooth Fairy is willing to pay a premium, she clearly values healthy, shiny baby teeth."
This year’s poll included more than 1,000 parents of children ages 6 to 12 and was conducted between Jan. 19 and Jan. 28, 2022.
But is the tooth fairy getting too generous? Scaling back how much we give children for losing teeth could ultimately provide an important lesson for kids.
“Leaving money for kids under the pillow is a fun time-honored tradition, but we don’t want it to turn into a slippery slope to entitlement,” Amy McCready, founder of PositiveParentingSolutions.com and author of "The 'Me, Me, Me' Epidemic," tells TODAY Parents.
“Usually, the more we give, the more kids want. Keep in mind, giving in to demands for a higher payout from the Tooth Fairy will likely lead to giving in to demands on all sorts of issues down the road — from the hottest new toy, to name-brand clothes, to the latest tech gear,” McCready added.
She also said it’s good to have a strategy when it comes to paying out for a tooth.
“Decide how much your kids get for a lost tooth — and be consistent with that amount through the years. If kids complain that your Tooth Fairy doesn’t leave as much as the neighbor’s Tooth Fairy — smile and ask if they plan to save or spend their Tooth Fairy money — don’t get into the trap of keeping up with the Jones’ tooth fairy.
"And remember, it’s OK (and even good) for kids to be disappointed from time to time.”