You may have heard the buzz online about a fascinating discovery: the potential to salvage valuable stem cells from baby teeth—those tiny treasures that fall out one by one. The concept of preserving these little pearly whites may seem like the stuff of science fiction, but it’s very real, and it’s making some doctors (note: scientists are still divided) urge parents to rethink what they do with their kids’ baby teeth.
Today, we’ll talk about why this intriguing topic deserves your attention and what it takes to preserve baby teeth properly if you decide to do so. We’ll also touch on why not all scientists & doctors see storing baby teeth worth your time and money.
Why Do Parents Usually Keep Their Kids’ Baby Teeth?
Baby teeth have held a special place in family traditions for generations. The Tooth Fairy’s visit, a keepsake jar or simply nostalgia—there are countless reasons parents have been preserving their children’s baby teeth. Each little tooth carries memories and milestones, a tangible reminder of the growth and development of their child. But now, there’s another compelling reason to add to this list: the potential to save their children’s lives through dental stem cell preservation.
Scientific advancements have revealed that these seemingly ordinary baby teeth contain a source of extraordinary potential. Within the dental pulp of baby teeth are valuable stem cells that, when preserved correctly, hold the promise of future medical breakthroughs. These stem cells can potentially be used to treat a wide range of medical conditions, offering hope for your children’s healthier future.
What Does It Take to Preserve Milk Teeth?
Knowing you can help assure a healthier future for your children, you might feel too excited about that age when kids lose their baby teeth. But how should you exactly save them for stem cell preservation? Can you simply keep them in a jar?
Preserving your child’s baby teeth for potential stem cell banking isn’t as complex as it might sound. There are professional services available for stem cell banking in some regions, although the availability might vary. These services collect, process and store dental stem cells, ensuring they are ready for potential medical use in the future. To date, most stem cell banks in Australia accept cord blood and tissue, but there are a handful of dental stem cell storage companies that can help you.
If you do not have access to such services or want to preserve baby teeth purely for sentimental reasons, a simpler approach can be taken. So, how should you preserve milk teeth? Begin by cleaning the milk teeth thoroughly. Remove any remaining tissue and rinse them with water. To disinfect, soak the teeth in a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water for a few minutes. Afterwards, air-dry them completely before storing them in a clean, dry container. This way, even if you choose not to go the stem cell banking route, you can still hold onto these precious mementos.
What’s the Real Score About Keeping Baby Teeth for Stem Cell Banking?
The concept of preserving baby teeth for their stem cells has sparked intense interest and debate within the scientific community. On one side, there’s a school of thought that believes it’s a forward-thinking and potentially life-saving investment. Research indeed shows that stem cells can be harvested from baby teeth and hold promise for future applications in dental and medical treatments. Facilities now exist for preserving and storing dental stem cells for future use, albeit at a cost.
However, it’s important to note that the extent and timing of these potential uses remain uncertain. The field of regenerative medicine is rapidly evolving, and while dental stem cells show immense potential, their practical applications are not yet fully realised. It’s a technology on the horizon, but the horizon may still be some years away. That’s why some scientists aren’t all in for dental stem cell preservation.
In the end, the decision to keep your child’s baby teeth for stem cell banking or sentimental value is a deeply personal one. While scientists remain divided on the exact potential and timeline for the use of dental stem cells, what’s clear is that these tiny teeth are more than just little pearls. They’re symbols of possibility, and whether you choose to preserve them for science or sentiment, they’re an invaluable part of your child’s journey through life. So, whether they’re tucked under a pillow for the Tooth Fairy or carefully stored for future advancements, your child’s baby teeth hold a special place in their story.
Want to read more dental news? Check out the PureSmile blog to find out the latest in teeth whitening treatments, dental care tips and other interesting tooth-related stories.