Stem cell therapy is hailed as the future of medicine and you can now store baby teeth and their precious stem cells – instead of leaving them for the tooth fairy! Future Health shares everything you need to know about private stem cell banking and its latest innovation – milk tooth banking.
What is private stem cell banking?
More and more parents are storing their children’s stem cells for use in potential therapies. It’s called private stem cell banking and helps families to protect the health of their little ones for years to come.
Private stem cell banking is the process of collecting and storing stem cells specifically for your child – should they ever need them in future treatments. Stem cells can currently treat over 85 illnesses, and you can safely collect them from your child’s umbilical cord blood or cord tissue at birth, or the dental pulp in their milk teeth.
MyBaba’s Ellie recently talked about her own decision to store her son’s cord blood stem cells at birth. She is part of an increasing number of parents choosing private stem cell banking for their child and family. In fact, 27,028 blood and tissue samples in the UK were banked privately in 2018, compared with 16,965 in 2014.
Why store baby teeth?
If you missed collecting your child’s cord blood or cord tissue at birth, milk tooth banking offers a second chance to non-invasively store precious stem cells unique to your child. As well as being a 100% DNA match to your child, they offer a 25% chance of matching a sibling.
There are over 1,000 clinical trials and 85 approved treatments involving stem cells at present. But while cord blood banking is increasing in popularity, studies and research shows that dental pulp stem cells found in milk teeth could also treat various diseases and conditions. These are known as mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs).
What can milk tooth stem cells treat?
There are over 300 ongoing studies into MSCs investigating their ability to regenerate and renew muscle, nerve, bone, fat and cartilage tissue in the human body. Clinical trials involving MSCs found in milk teeth include type 1 diabetes, arthritis, neurological diseases, dental regeneration. Whereas cord blood (which treats genetic and blood-related diseases), tooth stem cells specialise in the regeneration of body tissue and organs.
It’s important to note that all tooth stem cell research is in trial phase, and is a rapidly developing field with huge medical potential.
How to store baby teeth for future stem cells?
The process of milk tooth stem cell banking is easy and non-invasive. A specialist stem cell bank will provide a collection kit when your child has a wobbly tooth. When the tooth falls out, simply place the tooth inside the kit and send it back to the stem cell bank for laboratory testing, processing and storage. The stem cell bank will also arrange for a small blood sample from your child for testing purposes, which can take place at your home or local GP.
Your child’s stem cells are stored using a freezing process called cryogenic preservation at a dedicated facility, for 25 years or more.
How many teeth do you need?
The process is usually successful using only one tooth. If it does not work with a single tooth, we attempt the process again at no additional cost. There is a limit of three attempts, something we have never needed to abide by yet.
Which tooth is best?
Whilst all teeth contain dental pulp from which cells can be isolated, the most desirable teeth are anterior deciduous teeth. These are the top and bottom front six teeth. It is important to remember that like all cells in our body, stem cells deteriorate with age. The younger the better. Because of this, it’s advised to begin the process as soon as you have decided to store the cells.
Will I, or my child, need to take a blood test?
It is a regulatory requirement that all donors of teeth sent for processing have a blood test within 7 days of the tooth falling out. This mandatory screening ensures the sample is safe for storage and the potential recipient of the sample in the future understands the sample’s background – this screening could also aid a sample being used by someone else in the future, by a family member for example.
Can you bank cells from adult teeth?
Yes. If a tooth is free of decay and fillings then it can be processed in our laboratory. Often people who have had wisdom teeth extracted will go on to store the dental pulp.
With the chance of using stem cells so small, is there any point in storing them?
Stem cell therapy is a very real possibility for both transplant and regenerative medicine. In 2008, it was estimated that 1 in 200 people will undergo a stem cell transplant before the age of 70. The transplant data used in this study is now ten years old and stem cell research has continued to develop at an astonishing rate. In fact, it is now estimated that as many as 1 in 3 people will benefit from stem cell-based regenerative therapies8. To date, we have released 26 samples for treatment of a range of illnesses such as autism and diabetes.
Do I need to speak to my dentist about an extraction?
The process allows for teeth to fall out naturally, you can send us a tooth that falls out from your home. We can also accept teeth that are extracted by a dentist.
I have already stored Cord Blood for my child, is it worth storing Dental Pulp Stem Cells?
Yes, cord blood stem cells are very different from dental pulp stem cells, they each perform a very important job in body repair for different types of illnesses. Cord blood stem cells predominantly treat immune disorders and blood diseases whereas dental pulp stem cells have the potential to be used for a wide range of regenerative purposes, including the treatment of diabetes and heart disease. That could treat illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.
How can I find out more?
You can learn more about how to store baby teeth with Future Health’s milk tooth banking service. Call 0115 967 7707 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A discount for you with Future Health Biobank
Future Health Biobank is the UK’s largest private stem cell bank and one of the most accredited in the world. With over 17 years experience, they are one of the world’s only established tooth stem cell banks. They’re offering a 10% discount on this service for MyBaba readers when you quote ‘MY BABA’.