WHAT ARE STEM CELLS?
Stem cells have the ability to transform into different types of cells that can be useful in various regenerative procedures and cure many diseases.
WHAT TYPE OF STEM CELLS ARE FOUND IN BABY TEETH?
Baby teeth stem cells are mesenchymal stem cells which are proven to be pluripotent. They have the ability to regenerate bone, dental tissue, cartilage, muscle, neural and other cell types. Because of the high plasticity and potency of these stem cells at a young age, its best to collect stem cells from children aged 5-8yrs. There a lot of considerations to be undertaken prior to removal of the baby teeth, hence its best to decide soon and consult your pediatric dentist to plan the process.
SHOULD YOU PRESERVE BABY TEETH FOR STEM CELLS EVEN IF YOU HAVE STORED UMBILICAL CORD STEM CELLS?
Umbilical cord stem cells are called hematopoietic stem cells whereas baby teeth stem cells are called mesenchymal. Umbilical cord stem cells can only cure blood and immune related disorders unlike baby teeth stem cells. Saving baby teeth for stem cells can be useful for many diseases which require regeneration of bone, nerves, muscle and cartilage.
BABY TEETH STEM CELL PRESERVATION BENEFITS:
Cancers (Leukemia, Lymphoma), Metabolic Disorders, Gum Disease, Bone Marrow, Immunodeficiency's, Failure Syndromes, Cardiovascular diseases, Spinal Cord injury, Bond/Cartilage repair, Multiple Sclerosis.
Stroke, Type 1 Diabetes, Brain Injury, Corneal Damage, Hearing Loss, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Muscular Dystrophy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Tooth Loss, Jawbone Regeneration, Facial Reconstruction, Heart Defects, Heart Attack, Kidney Disease, Deafness, Crohn’s Disease.
These stem cells have already shown successful results in animal trials. Clinical trials are still in the experimental phase. There are currently over 2000 clinical trials that are completed or are underway using mesenchymal stem cells from baby teeth. But based on the current research studies, baby tooth stem cells may someday become the basis of reconstructing retina, cornea, bone etc and offer solutions for some potentially life threatening diseases.
WHERE DO YOU PRESERVE BABY TEETH FOR STEM CELLS IN INDIA? HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Baby teeth and to a lesser extent wisdom teeth are rich in mesenchymal stem cells. These baby teeth stem cells are isolated from the dental pulp and cryogenically frozen by Stemade , ReeLabs and Store Your Cells in India. These companies provide first-class dental stem cell banking at somewhat affordable pricing of approximately a lakh for 21 yrs.
PRESERVING BABY TEETH FOR STEM CELLS: VIABLE OR NOT?
There are contradictory views by researchers. Some are of the opinion that tooth stem cell storage is a worthwhile investment, but others disagree to it. The problem is research is mainly done in animals and results for clinical trials will still take 15-20yrs to provide an evidence of benefits. Bone marrow and umbilical cord blood cells have been successfully frozen and used in clinical studies for over 40yrs compared to baby tooth stem cells. Medical breakthroughs happen all the time. The potential of this therapy 20-40yrs down the road is unknown. I view it more like a life insurance policy. There's no assurance still that these stem cells will be viable in the future and that's a big question mark. Till an evidence of success is available, there will always be two groups of people who would want to store tooth stem cells irrespective of the ongoing research and others who would consider this as a marketing gimmick.
Not that every person would be hit by disease, but the one who does get hit realizes its importance. For parents, saving baby teeth for stem cells is a way of securing your child’s future. Many parents have taken the step to bank umbilical cord stem cells, likewise it’s a choice to make whether to preserve baby teeth for stem cells or not.
“Life is defined by the choices you make!”
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Keywords : baby teeth stem cells, stem cell preservation benefits, tooth banking, mesenchymal stem cells
Note : This article was written and published by Dr. Ankita Shah for WorldOfMoms.