Saving your children's baby teeth could potentially save their lives when they're older.
A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that baby teeth, also known as deciduous teeth, store a myriad of stem cells.
These could be used as replacement tissues for various organs ranging from the heart to brain cells if the child were ever to need them as an adult, reports StemSave.com.
Such baby teeth stem cells have a variety of other medical benefits as well that stem cells from donors cannot provide.
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Yet it is believed stem cell therapy works only if parents use storage that keeps the stem cells fresh.
Consequently, in recent years, various services have emerged to help preserve these precious teeth, including such companies as StemSave and Store-A-Tooth.
"Stem cells in the human body age over time and their regenerative abilities slow down later in life," StemSave writes on its website. "The earlier in life that your family's stem cells are secured, the more valuable they will be when they are needed most."
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Yet some experts are critical of this practice, ABC News reports.
"This is ridiculous, modern snake oil," said Sean Morrison, associate professor of cell and developmental biology at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor. "The difference relative to cord blood is that cells from baby teeth have never been used clinically to treat anything, and are unlikely to ever be used."
Tim McCaffrey, vice chairman of biochemistry and molecular biology at the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C, agrees with Morrison's sentiments.
"I'll be conservative and say that this is very highly speculative ... ," McCaffrey said via email. "The part that annoys me is that it preys on parents' fear of something dreadful happening to their child, and I will guarantee you that the company will not produce data on the viability or potency of the 'stem cells' that they 'isolate' and store."
"There is no guarantee that this would work in 10 years when, heaven forbid, your child needs it," he continued. "Do they give a money-back guarantee?"