When children lose their baby teeth, what do parents usually do with them? They ask their children to put the tooth under their pillow so the tooth fairy can come and collect it, giving a dollar in its place. But after this new scientific finding, the tooth fairy could be out of a job because dentists are urging parents to hold onto their children’s baby teeth as doing so could help save their lives.
While many parents hold onto their child’s first tooth lost, some have the habit of keeping all of them in their possession. Now, this habit could prove to be a lifesaver as dentists are coming forward to share the new research about this bizarre hoarding.
The United States National Center for Biotechnology Information has announced that stem cells derived from baby teeth can be used in numerous medical procedures. That means if a parent held onto a child’s baby tooth, researchers might be able to extract stem cell information to help save the child’s life later.
You’ve undoubtedly heard about stem cells. They were a thing of controversy only a few decades ago. Now they’re old-hat and commonly researched in the medical field. However, discoveries around stem cells, which are cells that have not yet grown into a specific bodily function, keep coming at a fast pace.
Stem cells have the ability to become any cell in the body. This means that scientists can help determine their purpose so they can do wondrous things in the human body like fight cancer.
Most scientists now harvest stem cells through bone marrow. This can make it difficult to access. But as it turns out, baby teeth are loaded with bone marrow, which makes it an easy way for scientists to access this potent type of biological information.
Now that you know that a lot of vital information is stored within baby teeth in the form of stem cells, this information is only accessible to scientists if they have the teeth in the first place. If you or your parents saved baby teeth, they could become a life-saving resource later in life if stem cells are ever required.
While stem cells can be used to fight cancer, researchers have uncovered other ways to use stem cells in baby teeth. One of the most exciting ones is that stem cells can be used to regrow bones. They are also useful for re-growing neural cells in the brain and for preventing heart attacks. Imagine if one of your baby teeth was used to save you from a heart attack in your later years. Stem cells from these teeth can also help regenerate the liver, treat diabetes, and reproduce eye tissue. There are also other uses being discovered every year, and there seems to be almost no limit to how useful these baby teeth can be.
Although many of the treatments are only in their infant stages as it comes to research, in a decade or two baby teeth could come in very, very handy.