Some parents hold really strong feelings about saving baby teeth and I had no idea.
The thought of keeping relics of my children’s babyhood that actually came from their bodies just feels creepy and bizarre to me, but, apparently, I’m in the minority on this.
Apparently, 59% of you are saving your kids’ baby teeth.
At least that’s according to this DentaVox survey.
But what is fascinating is that 72% said they don’t have their own baby teeth preserved, and more than half of those folks regret it.
But why? What is the allure of milk teeth that has adults thinking, “yeah, I need a rattling bag of teeth to hold on to, just in case.”
Well, for one thing, your baby’s milk teeth hold precious stem cells that could potentially save their life.
According to Good Housekeeping, scientists are currently racing to find ways to save stem cells from sources like umbilical cords and even baby teeth to use in research to find cures for things like Type 1 diabetes and other diseases.
But the catch here is that you must properly preserve those stem cells, which can cost a pretty penny; think $849 to $1,749 per year.
But there is also the inclination for a parent to grasp a piece of babyhood and never let it go because we know that they grow up so fast.
That little tooth can represent so much love and potential for a bright future full of hope and dreams. And we’re not alone in this.
According to Caring Tree Children’s Dentistry, there is a long and rich history of cultures around the world saving baby teeth to fulfill the parental longing for a healthy and safe future.
In cultures spanning the entire globe, there are many examples of folklore about a tooth mouse, which might be the origin story of the modern-day Tooth Fairy.
The tooth mouse was a tradition of offering a lost baby tooth to a mouse or rat as a sort of sacrifice. Parents would recite a prayer that asked for their child to have teeth as strong as a mouse or rat — because those things are hella strong.
In many countries today, families still believe in the tooth mouse, and in the US, we call it the Tooth Fairy, which some think is a blending of the tooth mouse tradition with a European good fairy tradition.
But there are some weird things you COULD do with your children’s teeth, too.
One lady decided to make a tooth necklace and has detailed instructions on how to preserve the teeth by baking them in your oven and that’s a big nope from me. But if you’re intrigued, you can see that post here.
The DentaVox survey had strong reactions from respondents.
Of the 59% who favor saving baby teeth, 24% cited stem cells as a reason to save them, although it is not clear that parents who are saving them for future stem cell harvesting are also paying the high fees to have those teeth properly stored.
Still, the sentiment that they may feel like they are doing something to empower their children’s future is the same root intention that invented the tooth mouse story.
When it comes right down to it, I still won’t save my kids’ teeth.
Not only do I have far better things to do with $849 a year (hello, snack bill), but to me, saving photos, a stuffy or blanket, or even a sweet onesie has far more meaning for me personally.
Those kinds of things have stories attached to them.
But for those who participate in the tradition of saving teeth, you might love that not only is there a long history full of fun stories about baby teeth from around the world, but you might even have the opportunity to save a life by keeping those precious stem cells safe.