The Tooth Fairy Index – a leading economic indicator?

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By Dr. Stephanie McGann, DMD FAGD, Columnist, The Times

We all know the tooth fairy. That wonderful fairy who trades recently lost baby teeth for a monetary gift. I remember as a child always being concerned that the carefully wrapped tooth under my pillow would be lost and the tooth fairy would not be able to find it. As a child, my reward was often a shiny new fifty cent piece. Yes, this really does show how old I am.

Since 1998, Delta Dental has been conducting survey’s as to the tooth fairy’s cash payouts and how those payouts have related to the S&P 500. The Tooth Fairy Poll has been a good indicator of the economy’s overall direction closely tracking the Standard and Poor’s 500 for 12 of the last 13 years.

According to the poll, today the average cash payout for a lost tooth is around $5.00. The poll also suggests that the payout for the first lost tooth is the highest with subsequent teeth bringing a slightly lower cash award. The Tooth Fairy is reported to visit 85% of American households with children. In Japan, the payout is charted at over 500 Yen, England 3.75 pounds’ sterling and Spain and Ireland tie at 4.50 Euros.

The Tooth Fairy is big business. In 2016, the Tooth Fairy paid an estimated $290 million dollars for lost teeth. That is a 13.5% increase over the 2015 estimated payout.

If you would like to participate in the poll just visit

While tracking the business of the Tooth Fairy may seem silly. It’s a great way to teach kids about money and finance along with promoting good oral health. In most households, the Tooth Fairy does not pay as well for teeth that have not been taken good care of.

So, enjoy a child’s joy when the Tooth Fairy comes and in a world of fake news – the Tooth Fairy poll won’t ever let you down.

Dr. Stephanie McGann, who has more than two decades of dental practice experience, is a resident of the Unionville area and along with her partner, Dr. Marie Scott, operates The Brandywine Smile Center, a family-friendly dental practice in Concordville. Dr. McGann has opened a new practice in Valley Township, Rainbow Valley Dental. She is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry.

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