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Recession Affects Tooth Fairy Payouts

Tough Economy Means Less Money Under the Pillow When Kids Lose Teeth
By Caroline Wilbert
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

March 4, 2009 -- It seems that even the tooth fairy business is being affected by the recession.

When today's kids put baby teeth under their pillows, they can expect on average $1.88 the next morning, according to a poll of 744 parents. That's down from $2.09 last year.

Although kids may be feeling the economic hit, they are still faring better than their parents and other adults invested in the stock market.

"Compared to the tooth fairy's 10% decrease, the Dow Jones decreased 32% over the same measurement period and global indices performed even worse," Dani Fjelstad, chief financial officer for DeCare Dental, says in a news release.

DeCare, a dental benefits management group, and Securian Dental, which runs dental plans, have been polling commercially insured members about the tooth fairy for more than a decade.

The tooth fairy has not consistently tracked with the Dow. For instance, after the dot-com bust in 2001 and 2002, the Dow declined but the tooth fairy increased her payouts.

This year's decline appears to be a result of more parents -- er, tooth fairies -- paying $1 per tooth and fewer paying $5 per tooth. Tooth fairy payouts range from 5 cents per tooth to $40 per tooth.

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