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Tooth Fairy payouts a surprisingly accurate measure of fiscal health

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. — It appears the enamel market is booming.

According to a survey released by Delta Dental of Illinois, the average payout from the tooth fairy for a lost baby tooth has risen by nearly a dollar over the past year, from $3.11 to $4.04 on average.

According to the Original Tooth Fairy Poll, sponsored by Delta Dental, kids in Illinois raked in a whopping $10.2 million for lost teeth last year.

The folks at Delta Dental claim their tooth fairy poll is also a fairly decent economic indicator for the broader economy. They not it has tracked with the movement of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) for 12 of the past 13 years. This year’s poll shows Tooth Fairy payouts are nearly right on target, with a 19.18 percent increase for lost teeth while the S&P 500 saw an increase of 19.61 percent.

Kids with loose molars in Illinois might wish they lived elsewhere, however. While the going rate in the Midwest is still right around $4 per tooth, the national rate has climbed to nearly $5.

According to the poll, the Tooth Fairy visits 85 percent of the nation’s households with children; and in 89 percent of those homes, leaves money. By region, Tooth Fairy payouts are highest in the West: $5.96 ($6.89 for the first tooth); followed by the Northeast at $5.08 ($6.31); the South at $4.57 ($4.88); and the Midwest at $4.04 ($5.70).