Good news, kids! It’s a lucrative time to have a loose tooth. Just don’t expect the tooth fairy to celebrate that news.
According to the results of the annual Original Tooth Fairy Poll from insurance company Delta Dental, which has tracked the value of a single tooth since 1998, the payout for a child’s chomper has soared 16% since last year.
In 2022, a tooth came with an expected payday of $5.36. But kids in 2023 can expect $6.23 for each gnasher.
Of course, that's just an average price. The tooth fairy's payout varies depending on what part of the country a tooth comes from.
Tooth-losing tykes in the South can expect the biggest cash swap for their bicuspids at $6.59, while those out West will rake in just two cents more than the national average.
In the Northeast, children will find a slightly lower-than-average return on their dental investment at $6.14, the poll found.
As for kids in the Midwest, they might want to consider a trip to another region when their next tooth starts to wiggle, otherwise they can only expect $5.63.
According to Delta Dental, which polled 1,000 parents of children ages 6 to 12, the price of a tooth tends to track with the direction of the U.S. economy — but not this time.
While teeth shot up 16%, the S&P 500 slipped 11% during the same period.
Teeth have trended well since the early days of the survey, when a tooth fetched around $1.30. The value has now increased 379% over the course of 25 years. If that trend continues, kids in 2048 will see an average of $30 under their pillows.
But not everyone believes the trend should continue.
"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 Positive Parenting Solutions.com and author of “The ‘Me, Me, Me’ Epidemic,” told Today.com.
"Usually, the more we give, the more kids want," she said. "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."
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"Remember, it’s OK (and even good) for kids to be disappointed from time to time," she added.
The results of Delta Dental's poll were released just days before National Tooth Fairy Day, which is celebrated Feb. 28.
It's also celebrated again six months later, on Aug. 22, which lines up with the American Dental Association’s recommendation to pay a visit to the dentist every six months.