Inflation and the Tooth Fairy: How the Cost of a Lost Tooth Has Changed

Inflation is affecting everything, and it seems the tooth fairy is one of the many casualties of rising prices! Recent trends show that the price of a lost tooth has grown tremendously since 202o, with the average tooth price being $5.36.

Delaware and Hawaii are the most expensive states for parents whose kids have lost a tooth, with an average payout of over $8. Iowa is the cheapest state, with an average payout of $2.30, and Wyoming comes in second-last with an average payout of $2.43.

Child missing front tooth
Image Credit:
sjhuls via

The Worth of a Lost Tooth

Since 1998, Delta Dental has been analyzing the Tooth Fairy’s U.S. annual giving trends.

The 2022 Original Tooth Fairy Poll indicates the Tooth Fairy’s average cash gift reached $5.36 per tooth, an all-time high in the 24-year history of the poll. This year’s value of a lost tooth has more than quadrupled since the inception of the Original Tooth Fairy Poll when the value of a lost tooth was $1.30.

The 2022 poll’s average gift of $5.36 per tooth is 66 cents (14%) higher than the previous peak of $4.70 set last year and well over $1 (33%) more per tooth in 2020 ($4.03). The 2022 poll also finds that 80% of the time, the Tooth Fairy leaves only money rather than some other physical gift.

“Our oral health is essential to our overall health, and the time-honored tradition of the Tooth Fairy can help bring attention in a fun way to the importance of establishing proper oral hygiene habits at an early age,” said Jennifer Elliott, Chief Marketing Officer, Delta Dental Plans Association. “Delta Dental is committed to increasing the public’s oral health care awareness as we support millions of dental health journeys across America.”

Tooth Fairy Payout Index

(Ranked in order of the highest amount in dollars paid by state on average)

  1. Delaware    8.91
  2. Hawaii    8.39
  3. Florida    7.42
  4. Mississippi    6.17
  5. Rhode Island    6.12
  6. Texas    6.00
  7. Wisconsin    5.89
  8. New York    5.88
  9. Georgia    5.81
  10. New Jersey    5.61
  11. Alabama    5.57
  12. Michigan    5.48
  13. Pennsylvania    5.44
  14. New Mexico    5.29
  15. Nevada    5.21

For the complete list of state rankings — or additional details about Tooth Fairy trends in your state.

Not all parents are keeping up with inflation, however.

Victoria, who manages Motherhood Life Balance, says that despite the rising inflation, she won’t increase the amount of money she gives her children for the tooth fairy.

“My now teens always gotten $5 from the tooth fairy. With inflation increasing, my little one may not see $5 but lots of coins instead as long as she keeps loving them. $5 will be the max for the tooth fairy, as I think $5 is more than fair”. She has no plans to change her tooth fairy routine.

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Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.