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Tooth Fairy Was Generous this Year, at $2.42 a Tooth

Update Date: Feb 28, 2013 01:53 PM EST

Today is National Tooth Fairy Day! Apparently, 2012 was a good year for losing teeth. The tooth fairy's payments went up 15 percent, perhaps a sign of the improving economy.

The poll was issued by non-profit Delta Dental, a dental services company that puts it out every year. Last year, according to the Chicago Tribune, children received a measly $2.10 for each tooth. This year, the tooth fairy, who visited about 90 percent of homes polled, increased its munificence with an average of $2.42.

While that may seem a bit steep for a baby tooth, the study found that number may be boosted by the fact that the tooth fairy tends to reward children more for the loss of the first tooth than the subsequent ones; in 46 percent of homes, children received a greater reward for the loss of their first tooth. The first tooth netted an average of $3.42.

Even still, the reason that the average may be so high probably has more to do with some high-roller parents. According to ABC News, The View co-host Sherri Shepherd, the mother of a 6-year-old son, expressed some shock at parents who were gifting their children with $20 a tooth. Indeed, 51 percent of homes reported that the typical reward for a lost tooth was $1.

As The Atlantic Wire points out, the poll may seem to be nothing more than a publicity stunt for Delta Dental. In many ways, it is. However, Bill Hupp, a spokesman for Delta Dental, said to ABC News that the appearance of a tooth fairy can serve as an opportunity to encourage good oral health in children. For example, parents can say that the tooth fairy may be more generous when seeing healthy teeth.

Still, the poll may serve as a strange indication of the improvement of the economy, the Huffington Post reports. As one expert points out, when times are tough, parents - and the tooth fairy - must hold tighter to the purse strings. The poll itself presents its results with the Standard & Poor's index. Both graphs have shown similar trends since the debut of the poll in 1998, though the S&P was up 13.4 percent last year, while the tooth fairy's gifts were up 15.2 percent - indicating that the fairy may have been too generous last year.

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