Teething is like a right of passage. It sucks, tests one’s character, causes pain and stress and seems to last forever… that doesn’t even include all the problems it causes your baby (hahaha I kid). Seriously though, teething is the worst but some babies start this process before you even meet them. Yes, some babies are born with teeth! (Not sure when the average age for teething is? Check out this page).
Babies born with a tooth or teeth are pretty rare, somewhere around 0.05%, but it does happen. These teeth are called natal teeth, or if they cut through right after birth they would be called neonatal teeth. Most of the time there is no cause for concern and it doesn’t indicate anything good or bad. It is just as it seems- their teeth cut through super duper early. Of course there can be some indicators and conditions that increase the risk of natal teeth (I would check out this article for more info, I am FAR from an expert in medical conditions). In addition, there is some evidence that there is a slight genetic connection, so it is something to consider if you know a family member was born with teeth, but not a definite indication your baby will be born with teeth.
Most natal teeth are great just being left alone. They will function like normal baby teeth and fall out when it is time for adult teeth to make their way down. However, sometimes they can cause complications. The biggest issue is if the natal tooth is loose and then gets knocked out. Infants have not developed the swallowing skills that older babies and kids have and will likely choke on the tooth, or it could become lodged in the throat. Newborn mouths are also VERY tiny still so sometimes natal teeth can cut/scrape the tongue more while baby is learning to suck which can cause injury, but most of the time baby will adjust no problem.
The last thing to be aware of is your nipple, if you plan on breastfeeding. The majority of moms get to practice latching and perfecting that process BEFORE teeth get involved in the process. With a baby that has natal teeth they will need to learn to nurse with the presence of teeth and the pain from teething. Be aware that it can cause breastfeeding to be a lot harder to begin and continue because of that.
If you are concerned that your baby may be born with teeth or if your baby is born with teeth make sure to talk to your pediatrician or dentist about it. They can check to make sure the natal teeth are not going to cause problems or are too loose and give recommendations to help baby adjust to the teeth while eating if necessary.
Natal and neonatal teeth are such an odd occurrence that they have created a very long list of superstitions from around the world. Some of the best:
- In Malaysia natal teeth mean good luck
- In China they mean bad luck or the child is a monster
- In some European cultures it indicates the child will be a strong soldier
- In other parts of Europe it means the baby will conquer the world
- And still some sections of Europe believe babies born with natal teeth will become vampires
- In some parts of Africa babies born with teeth are killed or abandoned because the children would cause bad luck to everyone they touched
I personally don’t believe you need to be concerned about your soul or your child taking over the world if they are born with teeth, but do keep an eye on their mouth to make sure they are not cutting their tongue with eating. Was your baby born with teeth? Anything you’d like to know about natal or neonatal teeth? Drop a comment below and I’ll be sure to get back to you and remember sharing is caring.