As a parent, you would want to hold on to every little memory of your child’s growing up years. Saving a child’s milk teeth is quite popular among parents. Parents like to save or preserve their children’s baby teeth for several reasons — to store it as a keepsake, to turn it into a memorable gift for when the child grows older, and to play out the child’s tooth fairy fantasy.
Besides these, here’s another reason you should save your child’s baby teeth — your baby’s fallen milk teeth are an excellent source of stem cells (1).
Read on as we tell you why parents save baby teeth and give you a few tips on how to preserve your children’s baby teeth.
Why Parents Preserve Their Children’s Baby Teeth?
Here are a few possible reasons parents preserve their children’s teeth.
- Tooth fairy visit
As soon as a child’s milk tooth falls, it leads to excitement in children, as it’s time for the tooth fairy to arrive. Although a myth, little children find immense pleasure in keeping their fallen milk teeth under their pillow overnight in the hope of finding a gift they wanted in place of it in the morning.
- Keepsake for parents
Falling milk teeth is a sign that a child is growing up, which can be emotional for parents. Your child’s primary teeth can be a great keepsake for you for years to come.
- Gift for when the child turns older
A personalized item made from your child’s fallen and preserved milk teeth makes for a unique gift when they turn older. Imagine your child’s expression when they know their special gift was in the making for so many years.
- Source of stem cells
Stem cells are found in tissues, such as the umbilical cord and the pulp of primary teeth and permanent teeth. These cells have remarkable regenerative properties that can help protect your child against many diseases and conditions in the future. Preserving your child’s baby teeth and banking them for these stem cells is highly recommended.
Stem cells have a remarkable potential for renewal. Due to this, they can give rise to different types of cells and tissues (2).
Recent research suggests that the pulp tissue is an excellent source of dental stem cells. These cells can be harvested from a child’s milk teeth as well as permanent teeth in children and adults (2).
Ways To Preserve Your Baby’s Teeth
If you wish to preserve your baby’s milk teeth for stem cell banking, contact your dentist or tooth bank as soon as your baby’s tooth falls out. The fallen milk tooth can be stored in cow or buffalo milk until it is collected by the tooth banking agency (3)
However, if you wish to preserve your baby’s teeth for their sentimental value or for playing along with your child’s tooth fairy fantasy, you can follow the following steps:
- Clean the teeth
Once your child’s baby tooth falls, clean it gently with soap and water.
While cleaning with soap and water will remove the surface dirt, blood, and saliva, you might want to disinfect the tooth. This can be done by brushing the surface of the tooth with alcohol.
- Air-dry it
After cleaning and disinfecting the tooth, air-dry it. Drying the tooth prevents the growth of bacteria. You can use a dry cloth to wipe the tooth or place it in the Sun to remove the moisture.
What Are Tooth Preservation Kits?
To preserve your child’s teeth for stem cell banking, you will need to keep them in an appropriate kit. Although you can place the newly fallen teeth in a container of milk, tooth preservation kits are available for this purpose.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that parents of young children keep an emergency tooth preservation kit handy. This kit consists of a container filled with sterile balanced salt solution (BSS), which is ideal for preserving your child’s fallen teeth (4).
This kit is also recommended in cases where a child’s tooth is accidentally knocked off. In these cases, you might want to visit your dentist within 30 minutes so that your dentist can try and fix the child’s tooth back in its socket (5). However, this is possible only with permanent teeth and not exfoliated milk teeth.
Cost To Store Baby Teeth
Contact a tooth bank or tooth stem cell agency that collects and preserves babies’ fallen milk teeth. The average cost of collecting the tooth can range from $1,500 to $1,749, while the yearly cost of storing it for preservation averages around $120 (6).
Ideas For Preserving Your Baby’s First Tooth
Once you have safely cleaned and saved your baby’s milk tooth or teeth, you could try different ways to preserve them. Here are a few popular options you can try.
- Keepsake box
The traditional practice of preserving baby teeth is followed by many parents across the globe. Thus, it is not difficult to find keepsake boxes, many in the shape of a tooth, to preserve your baby’s fallen milk teeth and give them a dedicated space.
- Baby book
Many parents keep a baby book or journal to record their baby’s achievements – from their first words to their first nursery rhyme. Keeping your baby’s milk teeth in envelopes and within the baby book is a great way to preserve them all in one place.
- Tooth jewelry
You could also make a beautiful souvenir from your baby’s fallen milk teeth. Take them to an artisan and let them embed them as pendants and lockets for jewelry. Many of these craftsmen use materials to cover the tooth to preserve and protect them, and at the same time, add their dash of creativity to bedazzle them. This makes for a sentimental yet fashionable piece of jewelry.
- Shadow box
Your baby’s milk teeth can be a great addition to a shadow box. It can be a great piece of decor in their nursery or room for years to come.
- Repurposed ring box
If you are looking for the perfect box to keep your baby’s fallen milk teeth, try repurposing a ring box that may be lying around in your house. The folds in the ring box are perfect for holding your little one’s teeth.
No matter your reason to save your child’s baby teeth, ensure you treat and preserve them appropriately. If you wish to save your child’s baby teeth for stem cell retrieval, you can keep a tooth preservation kit handy. You can also try some of the fun tooth-preserving ideas mentioned in this post, as they make for great gifts for your children when they grow up.
2. P. M. Sunil, et al.; Harvesting dental stem cells – Overview; Journal of Pharmacy & BioAllied Sciences (2015).
3. Benjamin D.Zeitlin; Banking on teeth – Stem cells and the dental office; Biomedical Journal (2020).
4. What Are Tooth Preservation Kits?; Connecticut Children’s
5. Knocked Out Teeth; American Association of Endodontists
6. Should You Bank Your Kid’s Teeth for Stem Cells?; leaps.org