Houston, TX - Sorry, kids, say goodbye to the tooth fairy. A new scientific study says you need to hold on to those baby teeth.
That's right, those baby teeth could actually save a life.
That's because baby teeth contain stem cells in the dental pulp "that can prove to have results for problems we have no solutions for," according to oral surgeon Dr. Laith Mahmood.
And those cells can regenerate and be used to help the body recover from diseases like leukemia, Hodgkin's disease, and even heart disease. By holding onto baby teeth, any of these diseases that may arise later in life can be treated with those cells.
"We are seeing different types of results with different types of stem cell therapies," Mahmood said. "The problem is getting those stem cells, and getting the right kind of stem cells, is difficult."
One company is banking on the new science with a "Store-A-Tooth" bank to keep the teeth safe.
The catch is, right after the baby tooth comes out it has to be frozen within 48 hours or the cells will die. The tooth can be shipped overnight to the "tooth bank," and then those cells are extracted and frozen in a lab.
"The price can range from $1,700...$800," Mahmood explained. "The process is difficult because of the type of storage required," he continued. "It's very cold, I mean, negative 150 or more degrees."
So, it's time for the tooth fairy to retire. "The tooth fairy has gone 2.0 - new version," Mahmood joked.
"It's very early, very early in the research process, but the potential is there," Mahmood shared. "The potential is huge!"
Those baby pearly whites just may end up being priceless!