Looking to the Tooth Fairy, with her little fluttering fairy dust, for signs of economic recovery may at first feel like rock-bottom desperation but it makes sense: The better off a family is doing, the more inclined a parent – er, the Tooth Fairy -- is to pad the little things like baby-tooth pay. They may not be ready to buy an iPad or the Barbie Dream House but a little extra under the pillow is doable.
"I'm happy to say that the Tooth Fairy delivered encouraging news about the country's economic recovery in 2012," said Bill Hupp, a spokesperson for Delta Dental Plans Association.
And, Delta asserts, the numbers back up their pearly-white smile: The Tooth Fairy index has correlated with the S&P 500 in nine of the past 10 years. The index fell sharply during the recession and in 2012 it hit its highest level in more than 10 years. That 15-percent jump correlated with a 13.4-percent gain in the S&P 500.
The Tooth Fairy, like most of us, still appreciates the value of the dollar: $1 was the most common amount left under pillows.
First-time losers (of teeth, that is) cashed in big: The average amount given for the first lost tooth was $3.49.
And, a lucky 22 percent of kids hit it rich, receiving $5 for each lost tooth.
So, the question isn't so much "Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy?" It's "Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy Indicator?!"