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    Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

    X-Ray That Shows Impacted Wisdom Teeth

    Many people often wonder why we have wisdom teeth if they just get removed. Why would nature design us with teeth that don't fit in the mouth? The truth is, nature did design us so that these extra teeth would fit inside the mouth. The conflict for why the teeth once fit into our mouth and now do not, is a result of improper facial development due to the foods we consume.

    Before we understand why we have wisdom teeth, let us explore what types of foods our ancestors ate and the impact that has played on facial development. Research from our ancestors have shown that they ate a fibrous, tougher diet. One study published in the Journal of Human evolution showed that our ancestors most likely ate a diet that consisted of nuts, insects, root vegetables and some meat. Plants most likely played a minimal part in their diet; however, fruit was probably not included as it is softer and acidic and their teeth were not equipped to deal with that type of diet. Instead, the teeth were strong enough to maintain an abrasive, harder diet. The foods our ancestors consumed had the right types of minerals and vitamins to develop a proper jaw. This means that the palate grew wider and more forward. The result was a mouth that featured a properly developed palate and strong teeth that showed little to no signs of tooth decay.

    Today, we mainly consume processed or refined foods that have little to no nutritional value. With the absence of nutrient-rich foods from our diet, the jaw does not develop the way it was designed to. The diet of parents before conception, and the mother's diet during pregnancy and while breastfeeding also play a role in the development of the jaw and facial features. Dr. Weston Price conducted research to explain why this happened. He found that the people who lived in more native regions of the world, and who consumed a native diet, had proper facial development and teeth that were free from decay. When native cultures were introduced to modern foods, their teeth began to suffer from cavities and decay. This shows how vital the nutrients we consume are to our dental health.

    So, why do we have wisdom teeth? The answer is simple—we are meant to have them. Nature has created us with a perfect design for our mouth and that is to have straight wisdom teeth. The role of the wisdom teeth is the same for the other teeth in our mouth, to chew food properly.

    Most people have wisdom teeth routinely removed at some point in their life, usually between the ages of 15 to 25. Most dentists assume the mouth does not have the room to accommodate the teeth and recommends that they be removed before they cause problems. The truth is, you can prevent some of the problems by starting to eat a well-balanced diet that consists of the nutrients and vitamins necessary for maintaining your dental health. Other tools can be used in the process of making the palate wider, so you will have room for all of your wisdom teeth to come in.

     

    Reference

    J. Viegas, (2009) Early human foods Retrieved from: http://news.discovery.com/human/human-ancestor-diet-nuts.html

    Why we have wisdom teeth Retrieved from:  http://news.discovery.com/videos/why-tell-me-why-wisdom-teeth.html

    Photo Credit: Lee Haywood from Flickr

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