New research is showing that your child’s baby teeth could be more valuable for their health than to the tooth fairy. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have reported that baby teeth contain valuable stem cells.
We know that doctors have been harvesting stem cells from umbilical cords for some time. But finding the same DNA in baby teeth is an unexpected discovery.
But why is this important?
Stem cells can be regenerated and used to help repair damaged tissue. According to Medicine.net, “Some current therapies, such as bone marrow transplantation, already make use of stem cells and their potential for regeneration of damaged tissues.”
These tissues can include bone, brain, cartilage, heart, liver nerve and insulin producing pancreatic beta cells and have been found to treat up to 70 different diseases.
But bone marrow transplants are extremely painful, so this new insight is getting people all over the world excited about the opportunity to grow stem cells from baby teeth that harmlessly fall out during a child’s life.
How much does it cost?
Companies like Stem Save and Store-a-Tooth make it possible for families to properly save and preserve their children’s baby teeth in the event they are needed to produce life-saving cells for treatment when they are older.
According to ABC News, saving baby teeth can cost around $600 upfront, and $100 annually. Compared to a price in upwards of $1,200 upfront and $100 annually for umbilical cord storage, storing baby teeth is a little more attractive.
But will it work?
The opinions of course, are mixed. Scientists from NIH say it’s just the start, and more research will need to be done to determine what types of cells can be growth from baby teeth.
Jonathan Moreno, director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville told ABC news, “The benefits are entirely speculative.”
With stem cell research still years away from being widely used and accepted, it could be decades before baby teeth dental pulp can be used to generate stem cells. Will teeth stored today survive the time lapse? Only time will tell.
Would you consider “banking” your child’s baby teeth? Share your opinions with us on our Facebook page.
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