Delta Dental advice to parents: encourage healthy habits

March 4, 2014

The Tooth Fairy has long been visiting children to exchange money, gum, or toys for a lost tooth. Many parents have used this time as a teaching tool to encourage kids to adopt healthy brushing and flossing habits. Some parents even tell their little ones that the Tooth Fairy won't visit again if their next lost tooth has a cavity!

According to the newly released Original Tooth Fairy Poll®sponsored by Delta Dental1, the Tooth Fairy was more generous in 2013 than the year before and visited nearly 90 percent of homes with children. The Tooth Fairy loosened up her magical purse strings as the average amount left for a lost baby tooth reached $3.50, up $1.08 from 2012, and, for the first baby tooth, children received $4.51 on average. According to the poll, the most common lost tooth gift was $1.

“Leaving gifts from the Tooth Fairy is a great way to help make losing teeth less scary and more enjoyable for kids,” said Jennifer Elliott, Delta Dental Plans Association’s vice president of marketing. “Delta Dental encourages parents to talk about the Tooth Fairy’s visits as a way to discuss good oral health even before a child loses their first tooth.”

Most children start to lose their baby teeth at 6 years old, but that doesn't mean parents have to wait until then to start talking about the Tooth Fairy. Starting the conversation early on could increase children's interest in brushing twice a day and flossing. If parents don't want to give money, giving a child a new toothbrush with their favorite cartoon or in their favorite color is a great way to celebrate a lost tooth. 

In addition to a gift of some sort, an increasingly popular idea is to leave a personalized note from the Tooth Fairy with fun oral health tips or reminders to reinforce good habits. “The Tooth Fairy is a great way to tap into your child’s imagination to help him or her understand the importance of oral health and to help make taking care of teeth more exciting,” Elliott said.

For more information and ways to make your child’s Tooth Fairy experience extra special, visit

Delta Dental of California, Delta Dental Insurance Company, Delta Dental of New York, Inc. and Delta Dental of Pennsylvania, along with their affiliated companies, together provide dental benefits to more than 26 million people. All are part of the Delta Dental Plans Association, whose member companies collectively cover 60 million people nationwide.

1Morpace, Inc. conducted The Original Tooth Fairy Poll® on behalf of Delta Dental with 1,001 consumers across the United States.

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