3/2/12 – Tooth Fairy Feeling Economic Crunch

ST. LOUIS, MO., March 2, 2012 – The average gift from the Tooth Fairy dropped to $2.10 last year, but she’s still visiting nearly 90 percent of homes throughout the United States, according to The Original Tooth Fairy Poll® sponsored by Delta Dental.1 That average gift is down 42 cents from $2.52 in 2010. The 17 percent drop in value is one of the larger declines since Delta Dental began conducting the Original Tooth Fairy Poll® in 1998.

“Like many Americans, the Tooth Fairy needed to tighten her belt in 2011, but she’s hopeful for a recovery this year,” said Barbara Bentrup, chief financial officer for Delta Dental of Missouri. “More importantly, Delta Dental is encouraged that parents are still making visits to the dentist a priority for their children.” In fact, 90 percent of those surveyed say they take their children to the dentist every six months.

The Original Tooth Fairy Poll®, which surveyed 1,355 parents across the country, yielded these additional findings:

  • The most common amount left under the pillow by the Tooth Fairy is $1.
  • Most children find more money under the pillow for their first lost baby tooth.
  • Thirty-five percent of those surveyed allow their children 3-4 sugary drinks a day. Dentists say that’s too many.
  • Seventy-one percent of those surveyed first take their child to the dentist between 2-3 years of age. Dental professionals recommend that parents take their children to the dentist by age 1 or within six months of their first tooth erupting.

Tracking the DJIA

The Original Tooth Fairy Poll® has generally been a good barometer of the economy’s overall direction. In fact, the trend in average giving has tracked with movement of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) in seven of the past 10 years.

“Like the Tooth Fairy, we at Delta Dental are hopeful for better economic news in 2012,” Bentrup said. “In the meantime, we will continue to support programs that provide access to dental care for those who would otherwise not have it.” The Delta Dental System annually donates more than $45 million for community benefit activities. Closer to home, Delta Dental of Missouri is committed to improving the oral health and overall health of the children in communities statewide through its Land of Smiles educational touring theatre program and the support of Give Kids A Smile, the Delta Dental Health Theatre and Missouri Missions of Mercy.

Encouraging Healthy Habits

The Original Tooth Fairy Poll® reflects a partnership between the Tooth Fairy and Delta Dental to promote good dental hygiene habits that encourage healthy mouths and healthy smiles across America. To help the Tooth Fairy and Delta Dental keep track of this longtime tradition, take the Original Tooth Fairy Poll® at www.theoriginaltoothfairypoll.com. The site also offers access to oral health information, the ability to ask the Tooth Fairy questions and the opportunity for children to post how much money they recently received for their lost teeth. And, to get a sense of the taste and style choices of the Tooth Fairy, you can follow her at pinterest.com/origtoothfairy.

Delta Dental is the dental benefits leader in Missouri and the U.S. Ninety-six percent of Missouri dentists participate in a Delta Dental network and 4 out of 5 dentists participate nationally. In Missouri, more than 1.3 million members in over 1,600 companies, large and small, choose Delta Dental. Nationally, nearly 1 in 3 families with dental benefits choose Delta Dental – 56 million members from 95,000 companies. Delta Dental is also committed to improving the oral health and overall health of the children in our community and therefore proudly supports the Delta Dental Health Theatre, Give Kids a Smile and Delta Dental’s Land of Smiles educational touring theater program.

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1 Delta Dental conducted the Original Tooth Fairy Poll® among customers across the United States. For results based on the total sample of 1,355, the margin of error is +/- 2.66 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

For more information, contact:

Kelly Harris, The Hauser Group, 314-436-9090

Monica Green, Delta Dental of Missouri, 314-656-2669