You will find people in all parts of the world with a baby born with teeth superstition. Do these superstitions have any reality in them or these are just beliefs of people we cannot give a satisfactory answer. However, this article will help you understand the science behind the babies born with teeth superstition. Rest is up to you to believe in any superstition about babies born with teeth.
Is it normal for a baby to have teeth at birth?
Teeth erupt between 4 to 7 months after the birth and this eruption is regarded as a milestone to monitor the growth and development of the baby. But if a baby is born with teeth, it will surprise you. However, natal teeth are only a few in numbers, mostly one (central incisor in 80%) but never complete set and are called natal teeth. This is a normal phenomenon and happens 1 in every 2,000 births.
There is nothing to worry about unless the teeth are hindering feeding or there is a risk of choking. Although you can have your baby born with teeth superstition, your pediatrician should be the one to make medical decisions regarding it.
Some babies aren’t born with teeth; however, they develop teeth within the first 28 days of life. These are called neonatal teeth and occur 1 in every 30,000 births.
The real reason behind natal teeth
The reason behind the natal teeth is still unclear. Some call it a genetic variation and others associate it with development syndromes. However, the debate is still open. Here are some common theories regarding natal teeth:
- The rate of teeth eruption is controlled by an autosomal dominant gene which can be a factor in the eruption of teeth inside the womb.
- Endocrine abnormalities like overproduction of hormones from pituitary, thyroid glands, or gonads can cause the development of teeth inside the womb.
- Some studies have shown the over-activity of osteoblasts in the respective teeth area.
- Similarly, infections like congenital syphilis or hypovitaminosis can cause early teeth eruption.
- Those who advocate that natal teeth are part of development syndromes associate it with syndromes like; Ellis-van, Pierre-Robin, Wiedemann-Rautenstrauch, and Walker-Warburg.
Baby born with teeth superstition
Although you can find a ton of scientific knowledge common people have their own beliefs. That’s why we find a large number of people with their babies born with teeth superstition. Most of them make no sense whatsoever, but people believe in them and you can’t argue with that. Here are some popular superstitions regarding babies born with teeth.
First documentation in history
The story of the baby born with teeth superstition goes back to the very first time the natal teeth were documented in the history by Titus Livius, in 59 BC. He believed that the male infant who is born with natal teeth has a splendid future waiting ahead.
In Malaysian culture, people have the same baby born with teeth superstition as they believe that babies born with natal teeth will bring good fortune to the community.
In England, natal teeth are considered the sign of the great warriors and conquerors of the future. And even Shakespeare in his work has pointed out the superstition of King Richard being a great warrior with his natal teeth.
However, you will not find such an appreciation for them in all parts of the world. In China, there is a belief that natal teeth will bring bad omen. Unfortunately, some people even refer to such babies as monsters.
India, Poland, and Africa
In contrast to other places, countries like India, Poland, and Africa have extreme superstitions regarding babies born with teeth. They believe that the baby will bring misfortune to the community. There are cases where they even killed such babies in their early days.
Some famous names
We also find some famous personalities around the world who were born with natal teeth and made their name. These names include; Napoleon, Hannibal, Richard the third, and Louis the fourteenth.
Baby born with teeth superstition: Reality vs Truth
According to some superstitions, babies born with teeth are fortunate children and brave warriors of the world. However, other superstitions in different parts of the world consider them unfortunate and even picture them as monsters. So the question is that “is there any reality behind these superstitions?”
The answer is not simple and straight. Although there is no scientific reasoning or data behind this people believe in these superstitions for centuries. It is hard to tell whether these superstitions at the time of development hold any data or sprung merely from the belief of people.
Today, science has made a lot of advancement and has failed to find any connection between natal teeth and these superstitions and strongly recommend you not to believe in any of the baby born with teeth superstitions.
Complications of natal teeth
Natal teeth are normally safe and do not harm the baby or the mother. However, they can cause certain complications. These include;
Natal teeth aren’t the strongest of the teeth and carry a significant movement which makes these teeth vulnerable to dislodge and choke the airway of the baby.
Difficulty in feeding
Babies born with teeth tend to refuse feeding either because of pain or difficulty feeding.
Ulceration of tongue
Coldrallin made an important observation in the tongue of babies born with teeth and was the first person to document the tongue ulceration caused by natal teeth. This disease is called Riga-Fede disease, after the name of the scientists who gave the histological explanation for it.
Ulceration of nipple
A baby can ulcerate the nipple while feeding. This can be a painful situation for the mother leading to feeding problems.
A pediatrician can surgically remove these natal teeth in case of complications or risk of choking. However, you cannot make this decision based on any superstition.