Instead of giving your kids' baby teeth to the tooth fairy, "bank it' for their stem cells
The next time your child loses a tooth or has one extracted, you might want to "bank" it.
Hundreds of parents are banking their kids' teeth to freeze the stem cells found in them.
The possible medical applications are endless. Studies and trials going on right now may help fight serious conditions with the heart, brain, bones and even diabetes.
Bo Gawne of Boca Raton has Type I Diabetes.
"It's kind of a pain sometimes, but I just try to not let it affect me in my life," he said.
Bo was diagnosed five years ago when he was ten.
His mother, Laura is doing everything in her power to help cure him including researching work with stem cells.
"I would take it away from him in a second, you know, switch with him but unfortunately I can't," said Laura.
She found a company in Massachusetts that freezes stem cells taken from baby teeth.
Luckily, Bo had four left.
"I found out just in time, divine intervention if you will," said Laura.
Laura contacted Bo's dentist, Dr. Frank Maye in Boca Raton.
"That's a no brainer in my opinion," he said.
Being a father himself, Dr. Maye jumped at the chance to help.
"From the dental side of the equation, it was no different," he said. "We're extracting baby teeth all the time."
He and his wife saved their sons' umbilical cords for stem cells due to a family history of multiple sclerosis.
"In our family, we think of it as an insurance policy. One we hope to never use," said Dr. Maye. "Every year, it seems like they're finding more cures to different ailments from these stem cells."
It's one of many diseases scientists are using stem sell
In addition to research surrounding Type I Diabetes, scientists are using stem cells to re-grow spinal cords in rats, grow heart and brain tissue and aid in pain therapy.
"You're going to lose the teeth regardless, the only thing were doing is speeding it along by maybe two months with the hopes of potentially saving a life thirty years from now," said Dr. Maye.
The company that Laura used to store Bo's baby teeth is Store-A-Tooth.
They ship you a kit that your dentist uses to pack the teeth. You fill out some paperwork and ship the kit overnight back to the company.
"It just gives us hope that there will be a cure, and they can use this for him whether it's for his Type I Diabetes or even some other type of help with other organs or other issues down the road," said Laura.
For Bo, it's hard to envision a future. But, he does know he owes a great deal to his parents.
"I don't think I could do anything in my life ever to repay them for that," he said.