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December 11, 2018 3 min read

Did you ever receive money from the tooth fairy?

Most of us did when we were kids. Whether it was your first baby tooth that fell out or your tenth, your parents surely helped you celebrate becoming more “grown up.”

The question is: What did the tooth fairy (AKA Mom and Dad) do with your baby teeth afterward?

Why do some parents save their kids’ baby teeth – and why do some think it’s gross. We’ll also examine some new scientific research that shows saving baby teeth may be a wise investment for the future.


Tooth Savers

Yes, there’s a large group of parents out there who keep their kids’ baby teeth after they fall out.

Ok, baby teeth can be sentimental and you can see why some parents may feel hesitant to just toss them in the trash, but what do they do with these teeth? Here are just some of the more interesting things I’ve seen parents who keep their children’s baby teeth do with them:

  •        Store teeth in a box or display case
  •        Collect all the baby teeth and string them together on a necklace
  •        Use the teeth in science fair projects, like showing how soda and coffee stain them
  •        Create a baby teeth scrapbook or album
  •        Sew them into “monster dolls” (apparently this is a thing)
  •        Sell them on Etsy or eBay (apparently, this is also a thing)

We’re not sure how many parents are actually selling or sewing their kids’ teeth. The vast majority of families preserve baby teeth simply for sentimental purposes, perhaps with a cast of baby’s footprints or handprints too.

Tooth Tossers

For parents who are less sentimental – or perhaps just find other ways to show it – tossing those baby teeth is the path they choose.

Sure, they may hang on to them for a little while after the Tooth Fairy has cashed in. Common places to keep baby teeth include baggies, boxes, and empty medicine bottles.

Few families, though, preserve their children’s teeth for long periods of time. Many people find the idea silly, strange, or even creepy.

Is there any viable reason to keep your kids’ teeth, other than sentimental value? The answer may surprise you!

Why You Should Save Those Baby Teeth

Unless you really had your heart set on selling those baby teeth on eBay, we’ve got a much better idea for you.

A 2003 study showed that baby teeth are a rich source of stem cells. These are like “protocells” that can be used to grow many kinds of cells, if needed.

This means that later in life, if your child needs replacement tissue somewhere in their body, stem cells from their baby teeth could potentially be used to grow the needed tissue.

Pretty cool, huh?

More than that, having your kids baby teeth around could potentially save their life!

Stem cells are already widely used to treat diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and diabetes. If your child is diagnosed later in life with certain types of cancer, the stem cells in their baby teeth could save their life, since they won’t have to wait for a matching donor to begin treatments.

In order to use those stem cells, though, you can’t store the teeth in your attic. They need to be kept in a special facility, such as the Tooth Bank, which will store and preserve them in proper conditions.

This way, if your child ever needs stem cell treatments in the future, they’ll have an option waiting for them.

What are your thoughts on saving baby teeth? Would you consider doing it as an investment in your child’s health?

Leave your comments below!