A new study has shown that children’s baby teeth are a rich source of stem cells. Stem cells, as you may know, are important because they are a kind of “blank” cell that can be grown into multiple kinds of cells as necessary. This comes in handy when cells are lost or damaged due to illness or disease. Though it’s not without controversy, doctors are excited about the growing role of stem cells to treat injury, illness, and tissue deterioration due to age.
Most moms and dads store their child’s baby teeth as a keepsake, but merely throwing these tiny teeth in a box isn’t going to cut it for later medical use. Like the stem cells that can be found in cord blood samples, the cells in baby teeth must be collected and preserved in a particular way.
A new company called Store-a-Tooth offers state-of-the-art storage and maintenance for these baby teeth. Using a solution of liquid nitrogen, these teeth are securely frozen in a laboratory where they are monitored and maintained until use. Though it isn’t cheap, for a little under $2000, Store-a-Tooth will set up and maintain your samples for you. It’s important to collect stem cells while a person is still young, because our cells become compromised by environmental pollutants and normal degeneration with age. Storing teeth may be potentially beneficial for parents who did not bank their children’s cord blood for whatever reason.
Learn more about the process of harvesting dental pulp stem cells here:
Pamela Bofferding is a native Texan who now lives with her husband and sons in New York City. She enjoys hiking, traveling, and playing with her dogs.
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