A dentist father has taken it upon himself to remove his healthy daughter’s two front baby teeth, as they are source of stem cells, in an attempt to protect her in later life. The stem cells removed from the dental pulp will be frozen and stored for over 30 years as Mr Graham believes that the cells could be used in the future if anything should happen to her.
Becca Graham, a seven year old in Scotland, has become the first child in the UK to have their stem cells banked using their baby teeth. Her parents both decided it would be a good move so that their daughter can take advantage of any future advancement in stem cell research. Usually stem cells are taken from either bone marrow or umbilical cord blood and have been used for a number of years to treat leukaemia and similar blood-related diseases.
Becca’s dentist father Callum Graham, discussed the fact that teeth are an excellent source of stem cells and, as research is being undertaken to examine the way they can be used to treat a number of diseases including diabetes, spinal cord injuries, liver conditions and strokes, he believed it was a wise decision as they could be beneficial in the future. Dental cells have already been used in current stem cell procedures including dental bone regeneration and also as a method to treat periodontal disease.
According to the Grahams they initially discussed the advantages of banking their daughter’s stem cells around the time of her birth, however they were too late to organise having cells taken from the umbilical cord. Mr Graham discussed the fact that a lot of research is currently being investigated using stem cells and heard about the ability to use dental stem cells and thought it would be a good idea for their daughter.
Mrs Graham, who also works as an administrator of the dental surgery discussed the merits of freezing their daughter’s dental stem cells, stating that the progress currently being made in the field is astounding, who knows what using stem cells is going to be capable in twenty or thirty years. She noted that it is such a gift to give her child, and after discussing the potential merits of having Becca’s dental stem cells frozen, it was an easy choice for them to make.
The procedure was no problem for the five year old, with her biggest concern being the potential problems that would occur with the tooth fairy. Her concerns were put to rest when she wrote a letter to the tooth fairy to explain the situation with her teeth and was rewarded with a response and £5.
Gareth writes on behalf of health insurance provider AXA PPP healthcare who also offer dental insurance plans available to use both privately and with the NHS