tooth hurts

A Viral Podcast Clip Sparks Debate About Keeping Kid's Baby Teeth Forever

And if you do keep them, where do you put them?

After Jake Johnson shared that he doesn't love the idea of throwing his kids' baby teeth away, he ad...
We're Here to Help Podcast / TikTok

Sentimental parents will tell you that when their kids lose their first tooth, there’s something truly bittersweet about the moment. Losing teeth means our kids are getting older and while it’s a gift to watch them grow up and hit milestones, there’s something deeply sad about the fleeting nature of time.

Most parents dabble in the fun of the tooth fairy who comes overnight to give kids a little cash for their teeth, but when it comes to what is done with those teeth after the tooth fairy exchange — that’s where things get a little gray.

A debate ensued around the practice of keeping kids’ baby teeth on TikTok after a clip from a podcast went viral.

The We’re Here to Help podcast hosted by Jake Johnson & Gareth Reynolds started a conversation about if it’s sweet or creepy to keep kids’ teeth. Johnson, most known for his role as Nick Miller on New Girl, shared that the idea of throwing away his kid’s teeth is “shockingly sad.”

“... you adore those teeth. You watched them grow, and then they fall out and that means they're not babies anymore,” Johnson says. “So, I have not thrown out my kids teeth.”

While Johnson swears that he has kept his kids’ teeth, he did admit that he hasn’t exactly placed them somewhere for safe keeping.

“But yeah, but here's where I'm a trash person, and this is where I'm going to embarrass myself. I haven't put them in a safe spot,” he admitted.

“Where are they?” Reynolds asks.

“Oh god. I just threw them up a f**king shelf. I just tossed them back. You don't even know who they belong to. It's just dead baby teeth. You don't know whose teeth are whose,” he said while laughing.

After Johnson’s confession, several TikTok users chimed in with their own opinions on the concept of keeping a child’s baby teeth as a memento.

“I have 2 kids. I have their teeth on a necklace I wear. Two each,” one user wrote.

Another wrote, “I found a tin of my teeth when I was 10 in my mom's drawer and it altered my reality”

“It feels weird to keep them, but it also feels weird to throw away parts of your children. I don't know the right answer! Ours are in a drawer,” another said.

“This is honestly so relatable. I have to sneakily save them in the middle of the night when I’m the tooth fairy and never labeled them. 😂,” a mom confessed.

One user suggested, “Keep the teeth! They have stem cells that can be used to grow replacement tissue/bones!!!”

They’re not wrong. In fact, some parents are saving their kids’ baby teeth in “tooth banks” similarly to how people save their baby’s umbilical cord blood in a bank. The idea is that, like umbilical cord blood, baby teeth have stem cells in them that could be used to grow new tissue and organs, or maybe even cure serious diseases down the road.

According to CNN, this practice of “cryopreserving” baby teeth has been around for a decade, but has mostly gained traction in other developed countries outside of the U.S.

“It’s based on experimental research that suggests stem cells extracted from the pulp of these teeth might someday regrow a lost adult tooth or offer other regenerative medicine benefits — some potentially life-saving,” CNN explains.

Yahoo reports that over 20 tooth banks have opened in the U.S. in the past decade. But tooth storage doesn’t come cheap. At a place like Store-A-Tooth, for example, there is a $1,500 processing fee for baby teeth, and yearly storage rates of about $150, depending on your pricing plan.

Or you could just keep them scattered on a random shelf for years like Johnson. Both options seem fine!