By Dr. Saleh Al-Daghreer on Jan 15 2018
As your children get older, and their baby teeth have all come in, it’s almost time for another huge milestone in their lives: losing their first teeth! As you weave stories of the Tooth Fairy and the money waiting under their pillows, there’s something else you should consider: Keeping your children’s baby teeth may help save their lives one day.
It may seem like a stretch or something out of science fiction, but doctors are starting to understand the genetics stored in a baby tooth in ways they haven’t before. Beyond that, protecting your children’s baby teeth—even though they will eventually fall out—is a very important part of their oral health development.
Here are reasons why you need to fix, save, and keep your children’s baby teeth.
The Importance of Fixing
If something goes wrong—like a cavity or tooth decay—in your children’s baby teeth, you may feel the impulse to say, “It’s just a baby tooth; it’ll fall out!” But these primary teeth serve important functions in your children’s oral development.
Primary teeth’s main role is to preserve space for adult teeth that will come in later. Without primary teeth to save this space, and eventually guide in adult teeth, your child will risk having crooked or blocked teeth.
There are other important benefits to keeping healthy primary teeth. A full mouth of teeth will help a child learn to speak properly and will provide an early smile. Practising good oral hygiene on these primary teeth when young can help develop proper tooth care they take with them into adulthood.
For these reasons, taking your children to regular visits to the pediatric dentist, even when they have “just” their baby teeth, is an important part of oral care.
What’s in a Tooth?
When it comes to dealing with baby teeth when they have naturally fallen out, you may want to consider keeping the teeth. Doctors have discovered that children’s baby teeth contain an abundance of stem cells.
Stem cells are unique cells that can potentially grow replacement tissue, allowing medical professionals to cure a number of diseases. The only other way to get stem cells is from the umbilical cord, so discovering an abundance of them in baby teeth has been an exciting development in the medical community.
The Importance of Saving
If kept and properly stored, the stem cells in your children’s baby teeth could be used to potentially treat and cure a life-threatening illness your child or a close family member may face later on in life.
It’s not enough to just hold on to the teeth, however, as they must be stored in a protective manner with special fluids in order to preserve the stem cells inside. The best way to go about saving your children’s baby teeth is by speaking with your pediatric dentist. Paying close attention to the teeth as they prepare to fall out means you can act quickly to preserve them.
Primary teeth serve many important functions, which is why you should maintain them for as long as they are in the mouth. But as research expands on the stem cells found inside, continuing to preserve after they’ve fallen out can potentially be life saving in the future.