It might sound odd, but doctors are actually encouraging parents to keep their children’s baby teeth as one day it could save their lives.
I used to get excited when I lost one of my baby teeth, as this would mean a nice little treat from the tooth fairy in the form of cold, hard cash and a pound for a five-year-old was one hell of a fortune.
I have always found it freaky how my mum kept mine and my brother’s teeth when they came out though – I mean, why would you do a thing like that, they’re gross – but now it seems maybe she had very good reason to after all.
Interestingly, AOL reports a study back in 2003 revealed children’s baby teeth are actually a really rich source of stem cells, which could potentially be vital in the event they need treatment to regenerate cells.
However, the catch for stem cells needing to be regrown for heart or brain tissue for example is -and this is the key bit in potentially saving a life- they need to be kept fresh.
I suppose this is the part where my mum’s plan breaks down – so now I can assume she was keeping them solely for a keepsake, which is pretty weird – as saving them in a box is definitely not the right storage plan.
Stem cells apparently degrade over time, which means they may not be of use in the future if they are not kept correctly.
There is a solution at hand though, parents can invest in a Store-A-Tooth to preserve their children’s teeth so that potentially if the child, or adult at this point, becomes ill and requires stem cells, they can be ready to use.
The teeth are submerged in liquid nitrogen and then placed in a cryopreservation vault, which sounds like something out of Superman.
The study claims the teeth need to be put in storage as soon as they come out and then they can then be stored for years, until a point where their services may one day be called upon.
It’s pretty incredible to think of all things to save your life, it could be the teeth your mum’s creepily stashed away for you… Weird, but definitely impressive.