PICKENS COUNTY — For the past several years, a national poll has kept up with the average price the Tooth Fairy pays children for their lost teeth.
Oddly enough, the poll is garnering some recent attention, as well as a solid reputation for discerning the overall direction of the national economy.
According to The Tooth Fairy Index — yes, that’s a thing — for more than a decade (12 of the past 13 years), the trend in average Tooth Fairy giving has tracked on par with the movement of the S&P 500.
Weird, but true.
In fact, this year’s poll shows a 19.8 percent increase in “Tooth Fairy payouts” — just a few percentage points off what the S&P 500 saw during the same time-frame last year, 19.61 percent.
This unlikely — but seemingly accurate — economic barometer hit an all-time high last year with the fairy leaving an average of $4.66 per tooth, up from the average of $3.91 the year prior.
In South Carolina, the Tooth Fairy paid an average $4.3 million for 934,985 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 Ron Inge, DDS, chief dental officer and vice president of professional services for Delta Dental of South Carolina. “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, which is put on by Delta Dental, states the Tooth Fairy visits 85 percent of households with children in the country.
Of those homes, 89 percent, she leaves money — but tends to spend a little more depending on which area of the country you live in. For example: In the Western states, kids earn an average of $5.96 per tooth, whereas in the Midwest, the average is nearly two dollars less, $4.04.
Here in Pickens County, the average is much less with most parents stating their kids generally receive a gold dollar under their pillow.
This year’s Original Tooth Fairy Poll was conducted the last week of January and included a nationally representative sample of over 1,500 parents that had children ages 6-12.
Which begs the question: Why?
Well, although it’s doubtful stock market day traders are going to begin relying on the Tooth fairy for advice on when to buy or sell, the poll itself does give oral health care professionals some valuable data as well as present opportunities to encourage positive dental habits with kids at an early age.
After all, everyone knows the Tooth Fairy prefers shiny teeth.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.