When it is about your baby, anything early or late will definitely make you anxious and worried. Be it the first smile, the first tooth or the first step, we want every milestone of his/her growth to be perfectly timed. You will be a bundle of nerves if your baby’s first tooth appears earlier or later than your friend’s or relative’s baby. Teething is such an important event in the course of your baby’s growth. Normally, it can happen anytime between 4 to 15 months of age. But rarely, some babies may decide to stay out of the box and shock the parents on the first day itself by showing up with a tiny baby tooth on his/her little pinkish gum. This condition – when the baby has teeth by birth- is called “Natal Teeth.” “Natal teeth’’ is not a cause of serious concern unless it is associated with some other medical condition.

How Often Babies are Born with Teeth?

Natal teeth are very rare. It occurs in about one out of every 2000 or 3000 babies born. “Neonatal Teeth” is a similar condition when the first tooth erupts within the first 30 days after birth.

Why Are Some Babies Born with Teeth?

The exact cause of this condition is not known. Mostly, they are not related to any medical condition. But natal teeth are found to be associated with children having the cleft lip or cleft palate. It also occurs along with other health issues that affect the children’s growth like Sotos syndrome, Ellis-Van Creveld Syndrome, Hallermann-Strieff Syndrome, and Pachyonychia Congenita.

Natal Teeth: Symptoms

Most likely, natal teeth will be present on the lower front gum. They can be single or multiple, usually occurring in pairs. They are often not fully developed. They can be identified by: 

  • Weaker roots (make the teeth loose)
  • Small size
  • Yellow or brown color

Sometimes they may look exactly like the normal milk teeth.

Natal Teeth: Risks

  • Because these teeth are loose, they can cause injuries to the baby's tongue.
  • Natal teeth may get in the way of breastfeeding. The Baby and the mother may experience discomfort during feeding.
  • If the tooth gets detached from the jaw, there is a possible risk of the baby swallowing it, leading to choking.

Natal Teeth: Treatment

Usually, no treatment is needed for natal teeth. An X-ray will be taken to determine if the tooth has a solid root. If it is loose, the tooth will be extracted to avoid the choking hazard. Sometimes, the top edge of the tooth will be smoothened to avoid ulceration to the baby’s tongue.

Natal Teeth: Home Care

You should constantly monitor the newborn’s mouth to make sure the teeth are not causing any injury. Clean the newborn’s gums and teeth with a clean, damp cloth. If you notice the teeth are causing any injury or discomfort, consult a pediatric dentist.

Because teething by birth is relatively rare, natal teeth have been a source of many myths and misconceptions. In countries like China, India, and Poland, a baby born with the teeth is considered a bad omen and believed to be bringing the misfortune. In England, France, and Italy, they believed that these babies would become soldiers and conquer the world. Whatever your belief is, remember, Napoleon the Great was also born with teeth.