Baby teeth, also known as primary teeth, deciduous teeth or baby teeth, which appear from the age of about 6 months and fall out when children are between 6-12 years old, contain stem cells in a tissue contained within the pulp chamber known as dental pulp. These stem cells located within the pulp tissue can be isolated and stored as a source for regenerative medicine therapies. In fact, these stem cells are considered like building blocks in our body, as they possess the capacity to grow into every type of solid tissue such as connective, dental, bone and neural tissues. Thus, stem cells collected from primary teeth that fall out offer an amazing potential and some scientists around the world suggest to store these potent life-savers for the future healthcare of your children.
The following are the top 10 reasons to preserve your baby's teeth stem cells in a cell bank:
- The loss of milk teeth occurs naturally and milk teeth can be isolated practically every time when children’s tooth falls out. The loss of milk teeth occurs naturally because they are only temporary and more importantly, they can be removed with minimal discomfort to the children, during a regular visit to the pediatric dentist. When human milk teeth are lost and replaced by permanent teeth, stem cells located within the pulp tissue can be isolated and stored as a source for regenerative medicine therapies.
- Children have multiple storage opportunities. Children have 20 primary teeth in all, giving many opportunities for collection and storage. However, only 12 teeth can be used for this collection; in fact, not all tooth contains cells with this potential. Mainly incisors and canines with at least one-third of root left. Thus, unlike umbilical cord blood banking which offers only one chance to collect and save cord tissue stem cells, the window of opportunity in milk teeth stem cell banking is much bigger.
- Since teeth are lost naturally during childhood, the isolation of children’s stem cells is simple and non-invasive. Children’s teeth are an unlimited source of young stem cells with easy access. The isolation of stem cells from teeth is simple, non-invasive and painless for your children when compared with derivations from other tissues of the body such as cord blood, peripheral blood and bone marrow.
- Banking stem cells extracted from baby teeth represents a biological insurance for your children. The cryopreservation of stem cells isolated from primary teeth is an emerging and promising procedure that could be used for a wide range of regenerative therapies for some parts of the body. In fact, children’s teeth stem cells could be successfully used in the following areas: bone tissue engineering, vascular insufficiencies, muscle repair, tooth reconstruction, periodontitis, diabetes, myocardial infarction, liver repair, peripheral nerve repair, skin burns, muscular dystrophy, corneal reconstruction and spinal cord injury. More importantly, children’s teeth stem cells share a common origin with neural tissue, thus these cells could one day regenerate brain neurons that die in Parkinson's disease. Although today the full potentials of primary tooth stem cells are not yet known, several researchers believe that they could be one day successfully used for the regeneration of a wide range of tissues including musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, skin, neurological and dental tissues.
- Existing research has shown that baby teeth are a better source for stem cells. Baby teeth stem cells appear to have the ability to develop into more types of body tissue than other types of stem cells. Scientists believe that these stem cells behave differently than adult stem cells; In fact, these cells multiply rapidly and grow much faster than adult stem cells, suggesting that they are less mature, so they have the potential to develop into a wider variety of tissue types. Thus, cells isolated from primary teeth possess usually better properties than when they are taken from adults since they are less disturbed by elements such as illness and aging, which can decrease the potentialities of these cells.
- The use of own stem cells of the patient, taken from milk teeth, eliminates the potential of contracting a disease from donor cells and more importantly, has no risks for developing immune reactions and rejection following transplantation. These cells could be used for autologous transplant, a transplant using the patient’s own stem cells. Thus, they do not induce an immunoreaction or a tissue rejection when transplanted later in life and do not need an immunosuppressive therapy. More importantly, children’s teeth stem cells could be also used for a close relative of the donor such as siblings, parents, uncles and grandparents.
- Children’s teeth stem cells are adult stem cells and do not require the same ethical concerns as embryonic stem cells. They are autologous stem cells extracted from one's own body and therefore there are no ethical problems involved in their use. Thus, these stem cells can be isolated, manipulated and cryopreserved to treat later children who require stem cells transplants. Milk teeth stem cells replicate faster and longer than those isolated from other tissues of the body. Thus, you can have an adequate number of cells for transplantation purposes.
- Primary teeth stem cells can be isolated from one tooth and stored in a cell bank for years. Then, they could be retrieved when the child or another family member needs to use them. It has been shown that the long-term storage did not affect the biological properties of children’s tooth stem cells. Therefore, milk teeth are an optimal source for stem cell banking. If properly collected and stored, primary teeth could be utilized to potentially treat a wide range of diseases and conditions affecting all parts of the body that a child or a close family member could develop later in life. If your children, later in life, need to replace some tissue for whatever reason, the stem cells saved from their baby teeth can be utilized to regenerate and repair the needed tissue. Thus, the practice of storing baby teeth could potentially save the life of your children. Banking children’s teeth stem cells means that children can take benefit of stem cell therapies in use today but also future therapies not yet approved.
- Primary teeth stem cells possess immunomodulatory functions, indicating that they can be utilized for the treatment of inflammatory, autoimmune and allergic diseases. Primary teeth stem cells are able to suppress inflammation and induce an anti-inflammatory microenvironment. Thus, they have immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory properties that are very helpful for the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). Moreover, they could also be used to treat some type of cancers, blood-related and auto-immune diseases. Therefore, baby teeth banking is very helpful because they can help to treat common illnesses that your children could be susceptible to.
- Primary teeth stem cells were stable after cryopreservation and thus can be very suitable for stem cell tissue banks. The efficacy of these cryopreserved baby dental stem cells has been validated by some studies showing that the viability and clinical potential after both short and long-term storage remains unaffected. These results highlight the promise of children’s teeth stem cells as a source of regenerative cells for long-term banking and clinical applications. Children’s teeth stem cell storage offers several benefits for the patient’s future because technology and research are increasing quickly; it is a useful investment for the future healthcare of your children.