The origins of the tooth fairy are unknown, with her first appearance sometime at the beginning of the formation of Europe as it is known today. The tooth fairy strikes joy into the hearts of millions of children all over the world. Some children receive treats as payment for their teeth, but the tradition dictates that children be paid money in exchange for their baby teeth.

But what about during a recession? The tooth fairy isn’t made of money, and like any commodity, teeth are subject to the rigors of the economic environment at any given time. The price of teeth rises and falls, just like commodities. And the less money the tooth fairy makes, the less she can afford to spend on new teeth. A recent study showed that American children were paid, on average, $2.60 per tooth in the year 2011.

Delta Dental has been tracking the cost of teeth since 1998 and has some interesting facts to share. They use the website “” to receive data from thousands of Delta Dental subscribers. Delta Dental subscribers are invited to take the poll every year, and the data is collected “as a fun way to gauge how generous the tiny fairy had been in the previous year,” according to

Statisticians, working on behalf of Delta Dental, compile the information and find the average going rate for a tooth in America and across the globe and then compare that rate to stock market activity. This correlation between the U.S. economy and the value of teeth to the tooth fairy creates what Delta Dental calls the Tooth Fairy Index.

Delta Dental explains they believe the loss of a baby tooth is a great opportunity for parents to include two important life lessons in one. Parents can use the opportunity to speak with their children about the importance of good oral hygiene and the value of a dollar.

Delta Dental has found that the value of lost teeth is much more closely related to the fluctuations of the U.S. economy than some might think. They claims that the Tooth Fairy Index can work much in the same way that Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog used for Groundhog’s Day, can predict the weather.

“The Original Tooth Fairy Poll has generally been a good barometer of the overall direction of the economy,” claims the website. The information is displayed on, and through their graph we can see a trend of the price of a tooth nearing that of the U.S. economy. “In fact, in seven of the past 10 years, the trend in average giving has tracked with movement of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA),” says Delta Dental.

How much money does the tooth fairy give for baby teeth in your home? When will the tooth fairy be visiting your children next? If you’re interested in a dental checkup for your kids please call Dr. James A. Wells at South Charlotte Dentistry at 704-759-0908 or visit the website at

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