April 22, 2003 — The Tooth Fairy could lose out on recovering the deciduous teeth children hide under their pillows to scientists wanting to use them for stem cells.
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health used the pulp in incisors from seven and eight year old’s to grow nerve, fat and tooth cells, according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Deciduous teeth … may be an ideal resource of stem cells to repair damaged tooth structures, induce bone regeneration and possibly to treat neural tissue injury or degenerative diseases,” the report said.
Researchers exposed the tooth pulp to different growth agents and found that they grew faster than adult human bone marrow cells.
Pulp cells injected into the brains of mice began to act like neurons, the study said.
“(The teeth) are not only derived from a very accessible tissue resource but are also capable of providing enough cells for potential clinical application,” according to the study.
The study does not say if the scientists were willing to outbid the Tooth Fairy.