The first of baby's primary teeth appear any time from 5 months to 10 months of age, although there are cases when thet appear as early as 4 months and as late as 12 months. The first to appear are usually the two lower front ones, followed by the two upper front teeth. To see the order of they show up, see the graphic below.
There are 20 primary teeth, all of which are generally through by about 2 1/2 years. Over the years they will be replaced by the permanent teeth.
The primary teeth have all began to form in the baby's jaw long before birth. The buds of permanent teeth have also began to form. To assist in the development of both, the baby's diet during his first year of life must be adecuate, containing essential mineral and vitaminis.
Normally a baby is not severely upset when he is teething though he may be a little irritable and not so interesting in food because his gum are sore. Symptoms as cough, fever or diarrhea are thought to be the result of teething but this not known to be the cause. Any baby who is still at this time should be seen by a member of the health care team.
When baby is about 5 months old you can give him a hard crust or a baby biscuit to chew on (not the sweet kind) He may also like to chew on a (safe) teething ring of hard rubber or plastic even if he has no teeth. This will help to harden his gums and exercise his jaw muscles. Watch that he does not chew any wood objects finished with paint containing lead.
Form the beginning care is needed to maintain good teeth; proper nutrition is important in their development. One of the causes of teeth decay is the formation of acids in the mouth by bacteria which act upon the sweet food substances lodged on the teeth. Even the first teeth should be cleaned after meals with a soft brush or cloth. Caries can develop in baby's teeth if he sucks at a bottle of sweetened liquid (including formula) for a long period of time, for example, as he falls to sleep. because of the very serious effects on baby's teeth, do not start him on the habit of sucking on sweetened liquids, as a bed time pacifier.
If you are living in an area where the community water supply is fluoridated, your child will have a good chance of having fewer teeth cavities.
The decay of a primary tooth may result in its loss before the corresponding permanent tooth is ready to come through. When this happen, the tooth beside the gap move forward and the permanent tooth, when it comes, is crowded out of position, or even locked in the jaw. This is one of the reasons care should be taken of the primary teeth. In addition, this care aids in speech development, food chewing, appearence, and in the prevention of tooth decay and infection which cause pain and ill health.
A few babies are born with teeth present in the mouth. In some cases they are the primary teeth and require care as mentioned before, while others are known as super numeraries; your dentist can advise on the care and perhaps removal of these teeth.