“Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?”

Now that school is out for summer, it’s wisdom tooth season!  What are commonly know as wisdom teeth are actually a third set of molars that typically begin to erupt in the latter teen years.  Did you know that while most people have four wisdom teeth, many patients may have none or more than four?!  Many professionals consider wisdom teeth vestigial organs.  Here is an interesting explanation why:

“One theory lies in the mouths of our ancestors. Early humans needed an extra row of teeth to chew their food: a diet of uncooked, hard items like roots, nuts, and meat. “I’m not an expert on anthropology, but clearly the need for and utility of wisdom teeth in the past exceeds that of the need of today,” says Dr. Rafetto.

Although it’s uncommon, some people born today never develop wisdom teeth. Why? It’s likely because of the size reduction in our jaw and face over the past 20,000 years, says John Hawks, PhD, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and an expert in human evolution. He adds that lack of wisdom teeth is more common in agricultural populations than in hunter-gatherers (like Aboriginal Australians) today.”

Read more here.   Our doctors are happy to answer any questions about wisdom teeth!

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