Fact CheckHealth

Can babies be born with full teeth?

Claim: A social media user claims her baby was born with a full dentition.

While it is true some babies are born with teeth (natal teeth), the image shared showing a baby with full dentition is false and misleading because babies are not born with full dentition. 

Full Text

There have been several myths around babies teeth, when they sprout, how they sprout and sometimes even why etc. A typical example is  an Instagram post by “Yourblackizmagic” who shared a screenshot of a post by Kaitlyn Valdes with the claim her baby was born with adult sets of teeth.

Yourblackizmagic shared the post asking questions around the possibility of the situation, “Is this real?” the caption inquired. The screenshot of the alleged post, referenced to Kaitlyn Valdes, showed pictures of a baby smiling with a mouth beaming with adult teeths. 

Screenshot of Instagram post by yourblackizmagic.

Verification

DUBAWA first traced and found the original post made by Kaitlyn Valdez on Instagram and Facebook on Saturday, May 1, 2022.  The post was shared with the caption “Remember this? This is her now. Feel old yet?”.

Screenshot of the Instagram post by Kayaiko

In the comment section of the post, however, it was observed that no one addressed the image, or made comments about it. Most users who reacted to the post seem to be making enquiries about seemingly business-related matters. 

Screenshot the comment section.

Teething is a normal part of a baby’s development. It occurs between four to seven months of age but our research shows some babies are born with teeth.

Natal Teeth

Some babies are born with one or two teeth called natal teeth (teeth present at birth). 

Natal teeth are not common and are often small, not fully developed, weak and discoloured. This review notes that Natal teeth occur in one out of 2,000 or 3,000 babies.

The exact cause of natal teeth in newborns is unknown but factors like genetics, fever, infection or malnutrition, have been suggested. Researchers have also suggested some medical conditions that may be associated with it. They are; cleft lip and palate, Sotos syndrome, Ellis-van Creveld syndrome (chondroectodermal dysplasia), Hallermann-Streiff syndrome (oculomandibulofacial syndrome with hypotrichosis), and Jadassohn-Lewandowsky syndrome (congenital pachyonychia).

While there have been an identified case of natal teeth here, there are so far no studies to confirm the cause of it. It is worthy of note that natal teeth are different from neonatal teeth which erupt in the child’s mouth during the first month of life.

A quick look at other images of the child who is now a toddler reveals the teeth shown in the image of the baby do not look like the set of teeth observed in the toddler. So was the image of the baby manipulated? Were the alleged natal teeth removed before the child grew another set of teeth? 

To answer this, a Google search was done to find when it first appeared online and this led to several reports. AbcNews, and Healthline, shared this image but noted these are not the kind of teeth babies are born with.

On the other hand, a report by Legit.com in May 2021, shared the same images in this claim with the narrative that a baby born with full dentition breaks the internet. This article, however, did not give detail on where the child was born, the name of the child or the parents of the child. Another website thepreachersportal tried to give  a spiritual explanation for this without details of the baby or its source. 

Further analysis on Forensically did not show any evidence of manipulation around the teeth.

Screenshots of analysis result

However, DUBAWA uncovered an application called FaceApp that has been used in the past by a photographer to alter a baby’s dentition with that of an adult. This photographer, identified as Amy Haehl, used a feature in FaceApp to show what newborns will look like with teeth. The result of the Haehl experiment looks similar to the image shared by Valdez. 

A collection of different images manipulated by the photographer. 

What is FaceApp?

FaceApp is a mobile application (App) for photo and video Artificial Intelligence (AI) editing. It was launched on iOS in January 2017 and on Android in February 2017. There are several manipulation options like editor, options to add an impression, make-up, smiles, hair colours, hairstyles, glasses, age or beards.

Evidence of manipulation was not evident using the forensically tool because the image was not edited using photoshop but with FaceApp. Here the edited parts are not technically added so it is difficult to see what was manipulated. 

Apparently, the teeth in the image of the baby have no characteristics of natal teeth, as they look more like adult teeth. 

On the other hand, the image of the toddler Kaitlyn Valdez later shared showed what looked like an ideal primary tooth (usually 20 teeth when complete). The toddler’s set of teeth is not a complete dentition as portrayed in the first image. The image of this child shows she has two upper and four lower teeth making a total of six which is nowhere near the number of teeth in the image of the baby. 

A collage of both images zoomed to show teeth detail. 
Screenshot of another image of the toddler properly showing her teeth. 

Experts

When DUBAWA contacted health experts over the possibility of teeth in newborns and what it should look like, a Gynaecologist at the National hospital, Jeremiah Agim, noted he had seen a case of natal teeth, but they look nothing like this.

“Natal teeth are teeth babies are born with while neonatal teeth develop within the first 28 days of life. The natal teeth are usually few, weak and small. Some can be fully formed. I can not say if the pictures were manipulated or not, I am not a dentist. I only saw one case as a student during my paediatric posting” he explained.

Suggesting we speak to a dentist, he said “the treatment is to remove the teeth which is the work of a dentist. That is for the ones that are immature and not fully formed. So a dentist would have seen various presentations of this condition”.

A dental therapist, Agu Chioma, at the Army command and Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association (NAOWA) hospital, Abuja said the teeth portrayed in the image is not possible because babies born with teeth are not born with full dentition. 

“This is not possible, maybe photoshop. A baby can be born with teeth not a full dentition” she said. 

Conclusion 

Our Findings, confirmed by experts, revealed that although it is true some babies are born with teeth, they are not full dentition. The image of the baby with full dentition is false because it was manipulated.

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