As Americans look for signs that the recession is easing, here's one from an unlikely source: the Tooth Fairy.
The value of a tooth rose 13 percent from last year to $2.13 per tooth, a national poll released last week by Delta Dental of Minnesota found. The payouts ranged from a low of 5 cents (boooo!) to a high of $50 (whaaaat?!), with the national average hovering around $2, making a mouthful of baby teeth -- 20 in all -- worth just over $42.
Citing a rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average last year (and proving that recession-weary Americans will take good news anywhere they can find it), a Delta Dental spokeswoman said, "The Tooth Fairy may be another indicator that the economy is starting to recover."
As for me, I'm waiting for a "4 out of 5 dentists think the economy is recovering."
In a heart-warming tribute to American values and family priorities, 86 percent of parents interviewed said the recession had not affected their generosity when it came to Tooth Fairy handouts. One more win for America? We're more generous than Canadian parents, who only shelled out an average of $2.10 per tooth.
For the record, I got a quarter growing up. Adjust for influation all you want, but this was the late 1980s. I'm starting to think my parents were just stingy...
COMMENT: How much is a tooth worth in your house?