Neural Regeneration and the Role of Dental Stem Cells
Stem cells have long had a negative connotation associated with them, but the reality is that many times, stem cells are not only one of the biggest contributors to breakthroughs in medicine, but they're naturally occurring and can be used in ways that don't harm any other person.
One of the best ways to harvest stem cells is to obtain stem cells from teeth. Dental stem cells have the same properties as other stem cells, but they're one of the easiest stem cells to obtain, making them a great choice for important procedures such as neural regeneration. Here are a few things you should know about the role they play.
They Come from Baby Teeth
Odds are, you haven't taken a very close look at your baby teeth after losing them. But in the medical community, baby teeth are very valuable because of the dental pulp that's inside of them after they've loosened and come out of a child's mouth. The pulp is full of stem cells, which can become just about anything to help the human body. Plus, unlike many other stem cells, they're both relatively young and come out naturally, as many children begin to lose these teeth at around 7 or 8-years-old. Not only are the stem cells fairly young and able to become just about anything, but they're also usually untainted by bacteria, as most baby teeth fall out before the pulp inside can be attacked by plaque.
They're Well Protected
Did you know that enamel is the hardest substance in the human body? Unlike most of your cells, enamel is composed of 96 percent mineral, which provide a firm, hard covering that protects the pulp inside and keeps it free from cavities and plaque that can eventually plague your teeth. That means the cells inside are free to grow and develop without interference, which makes them essentially a blank slate by the time they're needed. That can be vital when certain cells are needed to develop replacement tissue and help the brain and spinal cord recover from a devastating disorder.
They Help Fix Major Disorders
One of the things many people know about teeth is that they're incapable of repairing themselves, which is why a visit to the dentist is necessary to fix a tooth issue. The enamel that protects the dental pulp might not be able to be repaired, but the pulp itself is as versatile as it gets and can become multiple kinds of cells that can help people recover from severe neural disorders.
The main way that dental pulp stem cells can help is by becoming nerve cells that can become part of the spinal cord or the brain and improve the function between the two. Without a strong, functioning spinal cord, the brain becomes unable to transmit messages throughout the body and the body loses a lot of its ability to function properly, leading to neural disorders that can make life very difficult.
By the same token, a person suffering from Parkinson's disease deals with the nerves in their brain dying and being unable to communicate properly with the spinal cord. Stem cells can replace those nerves and help the body fight back.
Holding on to your baby teeth might not be something that many people think about when they lose them, but the reality is that they can be the catalyst that fixes major issues for you or someone you care about years down the road. When stem cells from teeth are put to good use, the possibilities are truly endless! Talk to the team at Tooth Bank today to learn more!