The 2006 annual Tooth Fairy Poll from Securian Dental reports that the current average “gift” US children receive from the tooth fairy is $2, a 22-cent increase from 2004.

The poll also took a snapshot of oral hygiene behavior. For example,  74% of parents reported that their children brush their teeth twice a day. In addition, 91% of parents surveyed said their children receive a dental exam every 6 months. Parents also reported that children typically have their first visit to the dentist between the ages of 1 and 4. The poll also revealed that 44% of parents indicate that their children consume an average of three or more sugar drinks and or treats a day.

Richard Hastreiter, DDS, vice president of oral health analytics and dental director for Securian Dental, says it is important for parents with young children to practice good oral hygiene. He offers the following  tips. Involve children in the selection of the type of toothbrush, dental floss, and fluoride toothpaste they use; select toothbrushes, dental floss, and fluoride toothpastes that have the ADA Seal of Acceptance; replace toothbrushes when the bristles bend or look worn—about every 3 to 4 months; encourage children to eat a balanced diet and limit snacks that contain high levels of sugar; offer water instead of soft drinks or sugary liquids; and make sure children drink fluoridated water.

For more information, visit www.securiandental.com.