According to the American Dental Association, a person’s smile is rated as more important than their eyes, hair, and body. And now, this important feature has the ability to save lives.
Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina have discovered that harvesting stem cells from umbilical cord blood can regenerate tissue, cells, and even entire organs.
The health benefits of cord blood have been gaining the world’s attention for the past decade. These cells are already being used to treat 80 different diseases, including blood disorders, cancers, and both immune and metabolic disorders.
But the researchers are offering an option for parents who did not harvest their child’s cord blood at birth but still want to benefit from all the health opportunities.
That method? Extracting a child’s baby tooth.
Dr. Michael Schmidt, professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of South Carolina tells ABC that a child’s baby teeth hold stem cells and are the best way to recover these potentially lifesaving cells.
Schmidt says, “Cord blood is great, but if you can get them from baby teeth, so much the better because you don’t have to bank them at the day you are born. You can actually wait until the teeth grow out.”
Once the tooth is extracted, it is sent to a lab and held until the development of more advanced medical technology. At the lab, the tooth is drilled and the stem cells are harvested.
The samples are then frozen in a mixture of liquid nitrogen and other chemicals used for preserving.
As the stem cells must be harvested within 48 hours of coming out, dental DNA experts suggest having a dentist pull the tooth properly and then immediately sent to a lab.
While this technology is in its beginning stages, experts believe this stem cell procedure can be successful as an insurance policy against your body.
But can they only come out of baby teeth? Not necessarily — researchers say stem cells can be harvested from wisdom teeth as well.
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