Save something for a rainy day. Bank your child’s baby teeth today.
What are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are a special type of “source” or “starter” cells that have the ability to grow into many different types of cells. Our bodies are made up by millions of cells with different functions; together, they form organs. Nerve cells bundle together to form long nerves extending from our spine to our finger tips and toe tips; red and white blood cells suspend in plasma fluid to form blood; bone cells form bones. Although the organs may appear very different to you, they originated from the same cells known as stem cells, which can differentiate into specialized cells upon cues by our body.
Why are stem cells so valuable?
Because unlike donor organs or bone marrow which have a high chance of being rejected by your body, resulting in transplant failure or a lifetime dependence on immunosuppressant drugs, organs generated from your own stem cells are guaranteed to match your body and possibly your siblings and other family members. Using genetically related stem cells, which are free from the disease being treated, often results in successful transplants with fewer complications for a blood related family member.
How come we cannot regenerate limbs or nerves if we have stem cells that can grow into anything?
Unfortunately, the only stem cells that can grow into anything are embryonic stem cells, found in 4-5 days old human embryos. As the embryo develops, stem cells are signaled to mature into specific cells, thus we cannot rewind our bodies to grow another limb once all the stem cells mature.
How could Stem Cell Research affect me or someone I know?
On the bright side, our bodies have some adult stem cells which can be induced to grow into a limited number of cells. Examples of such are umbilical cord blood stem cells, bone marrow stem cells and now, teeth stem cells.
Scientists are discovering more and more ways of maneuvering stem cells into repairing or replacing damaged tissue, thereby reversing disease and injury. Organs such as ear, bladder, blood vessels, skin and more are currently been harvested from stem cells for medical treatment.
In fact, scientists are hopeful to treat diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, blood diseases, leukemia, spinal injuries, cardiovascular disease and autoimmune diseases through stem cell research.
What’s special about baby teeth banking?
Dental stem cells are found in many parts of the tooth; just like long bones which contain bone marrow with bone marrow stem cells, teeth contain dental pulp with dental pulp stem cells. Such stem cells have the potential to form connective tissues such as bone, tendons, muscles, fat and nerves, as well as liver and pancreatic cells.
Similar to umbilical cord blood stem cells, dental stem cells are currently being studied by researchers to develop the potential to someday treat conditions such as diabetes, spinal cord injury, stroke, heart attack and neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Taking steps to ensure you are ready for health issues down the road can give you peace of mind. Dental Stem Cell Banking is a secure way to store your child’s baby teeth, wisdom teeth, or healthy extracted teeth. Bless your children with the best possibility for a healthy future.