Poll: Tooth Fairy pays $290M in U.S. for lost teeth

ARCHIV - Ein Zahnarzt schaut am 19. Maerz 2007 in Koeln in ein kuenstliches Gebiss der Firma Heraeus. Der Edelmetall- und Technologiekonzern Heraeus hat im vergangenen Jahr den Umsatz im Edelmetallhandel um 40 Prozent auf 12,9 Milliarden Euro steigern koennen, wie das Familienunternehmen bei der Vorstellung seiner Jahresbilanz am Montag, 4. Mai 2009, in Frankfurt am Main berichtete. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) ** zu APD5533 ** --- FILE - A dentist looks into a dental prostheses at the dental show in Cologne, Germany, Monday, March 19, 2007. More than 1,700 exhibitors from 50 countries show the latest dental medicine technology from March 20 through 24, 2007 at the world's leading dental fair. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Barely hanging on, you push and pull at that loose tooth with your tongue until it falls out leaving a gummy hole behind.

One by one, with each tooth lost kids are cashing in at an all-time high netting more and more green. According to Delta Dental in their annual tooth fairy survey, kids earned an average of $4.66 per tooth in the United States.

The price per tooth is up 75-cents or 13.5 percent than the year before. Overall, the tooth fairy paid more than $290 million in the U.S. for lost teeth.

“In addition to the excitement a visit from the Tooth Fairy brings, she also delivers lessons in finance and good oral health,” said Jennifer Elliott, vice president of marketing for Delta Dental Plans Association, on their website. “Having conversations with children about good oral health habits, from an early age, can help establish strong habits for a lifetime, and the Tooth Fairy can be a great way to help spark those conversations.”

The poll found that the Tooth Fairy collects teeth from 85 percent of the households across the country. Along with money, the Tooth Fairy sometimes leaves gifts to encourage oral health, like toothbrushes, floss or toothpaste.

Breakdown of top tooth earners by region in the U.S.:

  • West: $5.95 or $6.98 for the first lost tooth
  • Northeast: $5.08 or $6.31 for the first tooth
  • South: $4.57 or $4.88 for the first tooth
  • Midwest: $4.04 or $5.70 for the first tooth