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Mum and Dad

What am I supposed to do with all these baby teeth?


Carolyn Robertson

posted in Parenting

There are so many strange and unexpected parts of parenting. For example, I bet nobody told you when you had a baby that you would one day end up with a growing collection of teeth in your dresser drawer.

That’s where I stash the kids’ teeth, the ones the tooth fairy painstakingly exchanges for two dollars in the middle of the night. I couldn’t tell you which tooth belonged to which child, they’re all just jumbled together in a little drawstring bag in the top drawer, the one that’s too high for curious, prying, sticky little hands to reach.

Every once in a while I peer into that bag, its yellowing contents rattling against each other, and it strikes me that the whole thing is a bit disgusting. I just can’t seem to bring myself to throw them out, though. I’m not sure why — after all, I may have kept the first lock of my daughters’ hair, but I certainly don’t gather up the discarded clumps after every single haircut.

Teeth are different, though, aren’t they? As any parent of a teething baby knows, teeth take work. I spent long nights soothing crying children as those tiny teeth made their way to the surface. I watched them grow in; I celebrated when they fell out. Somehow dumping them into the trash can just doesn’t seem right.

The good news is, for those of us who are not quite ready to throw the baby teeth out, there are plenty of other ideas.

Some creative folks turn teeth into jewelry; this tooth sphere is one of many options to choose from on Etsy. Nice, I guess, but not for me. In my drawer is one thing, hanging around my neck is quite another.

There are also adorable boxes made specifically to hold all of your child’s teeth forever. This wooden one, for example, holds not only teeth but the umbilical cord and Lanugo (I had to look that one up – it’s the downy hair that covers the bodies of some newborns), too.

I envision presenting this to my daughter as she graduates from university, or perhaps on her wedding day. In this vision my adult child looks at me with tears in her eyes and says… “MOM! That’s so gross!” Maybe those imaginary tears were nausea-induced.

There was a news piece not long ago that said doctors are actually encouraging parents to hold onto those baby teeth as they are a source of stem cells. Unfortunately, tossing them into a drawer doesn’t seem to qualify as “properly storing” them. Instead, you’re supposed to make plans with your dentist to have them sent to a service like Store-A-Tooth, which will preserve them…for around $1,800. I’m not sure that’s in the budget, and besides, at this point it’s too late for my collection of years-old teeth.

None of these options really work for me, but I came across this post in the BabyCenter Community that made me feel a bit better about my current dresser drawer solution.

“My mother-in-law has a jar in her kitchen of all these teeth she saved from her mouth, my husband’s mouth, her dog’s mouth, etc. I think it’s totally weird because I’ve never heard of anyone else doing that.”

Knowing that other people are holding onto their dogs’ teeth somehow makes me feel better.

I can’t be the only parent secretly housing a growing collection of lost teeth.

What do you do with all those baby teeth?

Images via iStock, Amazon

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