Wisdom & Teeth

…. impacted wisdom teeth and malocclusions are very recent problems. They arise because we now process our food so much that we chew with little force. These interactions affect how our faces grow, which causes previously unknown dental problems. Hunter-gatherers — who live in ways similar to our ancestors — don’t have impacted wisdom teeth or cavities.

via Born, and Evolved, to Run – NYTimes.com.

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Comments

  1. Scott McGreal says:

    Actually, I've read that impacted wisdom teeth are believed to be caused by the small size of the human jaw. According to the fossil record, human teeth and jaws reduced in size more than a million years ago after the discovery of fire and the invention of cooking. One of the effects of cooking is to soften food, making it easier to chew, hence human teeth became smaller. Considering that this has been the case for over a million years, I find it hard to believe that hunter-gatherers would not also experience impacted wisdom teeth, or that impaction has much to do with diet at all. (Cavities are a completely separate matter though.)

  2. Danny L says:

    OH BS, it probably has more to do with the fact that we keep all of our teeth long enough for wisdom teeth crowding to be an issue.

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