Baby Teeth: A Better Source for Stem Cells
The newest source of stem cells—pulp taken from baby teeth—may be the source with the greatest potential for treatment of injuries and diseases. There are advantages of using baby teeth over other sources of stem cells, such as embryos, bone marrow, and umbilical cord blood. The progress with teeth stem cells has given rise to tooth banks, laboratories where the pulp in your child's baby teeth can be stored and preserved.
Stem cells have the potential to regenerate tissue, cartilage, bone, and organs. For example, they are being tested for use in bone replacement. They could potentially take the place of bone grafts. Stem cells from teeth are mesenchymal stem cells that have the ability to differentiate types of cells. So, dental stem cells aren't limited to the regeneration of teeth but can be used to stimulate the growth of healthy cells in other parts of the body.
What are the advantages of stem cells taken from the pulp of your child's baby teeth over other sources of stem cells?
* The removal of baby teeth is simple. By the age of 12, your child will lose his or her baby teeth. When one of your child's teeth becomes loose, take him or her to the dentist so the pulp of the tooth can be preserved.
* You have more than one chance to capture a baby tooth. You only have one shot to get and bank your child's umbilical cord blood. Your child has 20 baby (or milk) teeth, so you have plenty of chances to preserve some of your child's baby teeth.
* Stem cells from baby teeth show more potential for medical breakthroughs. Strides are being made using dental stem cells to replace lost teeth and in periodontal care, but the use of these stem cells is not limited to your mouth and gums. These stem cells have the ability to develop into other types of body tissue.
* Using your own stem cells eliminates the possibility that your body will reject the stem cells.
* One child's baby tooth can be used for a close relative. A baby tooth you save for one child may save the life of his or her sister or brother one day.
* Baby teeth can be stored for over 20 years. With ongoing research, the use of dental stem cells to treat medical conditions and repair damaged tissue is sure to expand.
* Banking a child's baby tooth is simple. When you enroll with a tooth bank, you get a collection jar (with the solution added) and a package to send the jar to the tooth bank. The dentist places the tooth in a package, and a carrier delivers the package to the tooth bank.
* The use of dental stem cells lacks the ethical concerns that come with other sources of stem cells.
The potential uses of dental stem cells are endless. They could one day be used to replace bone, repair muscles, reconstruct teeth and gums, and treat medical conditions, such as diabetes, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's disease, and spinal cord injuries.
Think of banking your child's baby teeth as a health investment. You pay the tooth bank processing and storage fees. If your child has a medical condition in the future, the stem cells are there to treat or cure the child.
Call Tooth Bank to start banking your child's baby teeth so you can take advantage of this ground-breaking area of medical science.