When a baby loses a tooth, its a big milestone to be remembered forever. Many parents still have their childs first tooth stashed in a jar somewhere for keepsake. Many dont know however, that it also serves as a lifesaver! It can actually give you access to stem cells.
Why Baby Teeth?
Dr. Songtao Shi led a study in 2003 with the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. What he discovered was that baby teeth contain very valuable stem cells. From one to a dozen. These can actually be used later in life in order to treat a number of diseases. Stem cells can be used in the brain, pancreas, heart and other organs to repair damage caused by various diseases and researchers are actively studying this healing process. Turns out there is one type of stem cells that researchers discovered exist inside adult teeth. But they also found completely different stem cells in the teeth of babies, all the way up to 7-8 year old children.
How It Works
Found inside the dental pulp of a tooth that regenerates into neurons, bone and cartilage and even cardiac cells, this has actually been declared to be an effective treatment for Type 1 diabetes. Insulin can actually be produced.
But preserving the stem cells is a delicate matter. The cells have to be alive in order to be of use, which means the dental pulp has to have adequate blood supply within at least 48 hours of being frozen. What will happen if it doesnt happen in time? The cells will die.
According to Dr. Peter Murray who is the director of Dental Regenerative Laboratory, the teeth and oral tissue can be regenerated by stem cells in tooth buds, baby teeth, third molars, periodontal tissues and induced pluripotent cells!
What You Can Do
So how can you take advantage of all this cool science? Well, there are actual services now that will indeed store baby teeth for a price. This actually requires dentists professionals to remove baby teeth which are not dangling. The danglers might not have had the adequate blood supply which is necessary for properly storing the teeth. Plus the dentists are going to have the proper equipment for packing, shipping and all-in-all delivering the teeth in safe and sterile environment which should ensure the teeth useful for stem cell purposes.
So yes, it is a bit more complicated that just yanking off your child’s dangling tooth and throwing it in an envelop, then mailing to the proper facility! But having said that, many companies do provide a storage container and the preservation solution required for collecting at-home.
Here is a dentist who describes how important this really is.
So it turns out those baby teeth are worth more that just a buck under a pillow! They truly have value which could be life-saving!