Banking Baby Teeth Could Save a Life

By: Zoe Crane, ellaslist

Your child’s baby teeth might save their life one day. While banking cord blood at birth is fairly well established, it is less well-known that potentially life-saving stem cells are also found in teeth. Now “tooth banks” are popping up around the world.

What are stem cells?

Stem cells are cells that your body uses to develop into many different kinds of cells. They are unique because they are unspecialised and can renew themselves (cell division). Your body uses them for growing all different parts of your body and scientists have been able to induce them to grow into specific tissue or organ-specific cells. That means that using stem cells, we can now “make” other cells the body might need. As the cells can become so many other things, stem cells have been used to treat over 80 diseases, including leukaemia and multiple myeloma, and new uses are being discovered and tested all the time.

Why Teeth?

Cord blood banking has been done for many years and the diseases that can be treated with cord blood are now well established. The downside is that if you didn’t bank your cord blood at the time of birth, the opportunity has passed. It is also prohibitively expensive for many families, costing a couple of thousand dollars at birth as well as an ongoing fee each year.

The option to bank teeth comes up a bit later in life, and as they fall out naturally there is no pain involved in collecting them. Storing the stem cells in teeth is also cheaper. But the cells found in teeth are different to the cells found in cord blood, so the actual medical use of these has not yet been proven in humans. Hopes are high that tooth stem cells will help treat Type 1 diabetes and also repair heart tissue after a heart attack.

[caption id=“attachment_99919” align=“alignnone” width=“960”]baby teeth fall out Baby teeth are easy to collect and bank as they fall out naturally.[/caption]

How does banking work?

In order for the cells to be viable, they must be frozen within 48 hours of them losing their blood supply. Parents need to register with a tooth bank prior to the tooth falling out, and as soon as it does, put it in a specially supplied contained in cold milk, and call for a courier to take it to the bank. While some teeth may not be viable, for example if it has been “dangling” for some time and lost blood supply before it fell out, banks will hold a number of teeth for the one cost.

How much does it cost?

Dental storage appears to be cheaper than cord blood storage. In the US, tooth banks charge around $700 – $800 USD for the first year and then around $100 USD annual storage fee. In Australia, cord blood storage costs around $1,700 a year. However there are payment plans available and discounts for storage over longer time periods.

Tooth Banks in Australia

There are an estimated 20-25 dental stem cell storage providers worldwide but no currently there are no tooth banks in Australia. We did the ring around the larger stem cell storage companies. There are one or two that are considering launching this service so it shouldn’t be too long before this option exists for us. However American company Store-a-Tooth has been expanding globally so it’s certainly a possibility that their service may come to Australia soon. Watch this Space!

ellaslist wants to hear from you, would you store your kids’ baby teeth – just in case?




Kylie flak

Mar 01 2017

Hi, my daughter is 5 and I'm interested in storing her baby teeth. No teeth have fallen out as yet.



Nov 09 2016

I love this idea... how do i start setting this up thankyou


Kitti karn

Sep 25 2016

I love banking baby teeth



Aug 21 2016

So at this stage there isn't a facility in Aust? My daughters loosing her teeth now. What do I do?


Aylin Altinors

May 02 2016

Hi Zoe, I can't see when this article was written but I am very interested in this topic. Today I contacted Cell Care and Cryosite, they don't provide that service nor do they know who does. I have also emailed "Store-a-Tooth" let's see what they are going to say. My daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 9. This might be the way to go to cure her disease in the future. If you have any more information other than what you have already published please email me . Otherwise, thank you for your article. Kind regards, Aylin