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Wisdom Teeth

For Most Of Us, Wisdom Teeth Are Bad News. They Seem Virtually Useless In Millions
Of Mouths. So Why Do We Have Them In The First Place? What's The Reason For These Painful, Useless Teeth?

While You May Think Your Last Set Of Molars Are A Total Biological Mishap, They Actually Served A Very Important Function In The Past.

Let's Go Back To The Prehistoric Time. Back Then, Our Ancestors Lived On A Diet Of Foods Like Roots, Nuts And Raw Meats. Eating Such Foods Involved A Lot Of Tearing And Crushing. If You Were In That Time Period, You Would Need Some Pretty Powerful Chompers To Cut Up Your Food, Right? And That Was Where Your Third Molars - Also Known As Wisdom Teeth, Came In.

To Continue Robust Chewing Between The Ages Of 17 To 25, A Brand-New Set Of Strong Molars Would Show.
Also, Hard Food Stimulates Jaw Growth, And This Allowed Mouths To Grow Large Enough For Three Sets Of Molars. About 800,000 To 200,000 Years Ago, Early Human’s Brains Started Growing At A Rapid Pace - So Much So That They Increased In Size By Nearly Three Times. As That Happened, It Changed The Shape Of The Human Skull. The Jaws Shortened, And Suddenly There Was No Longer Enough Room For Third Molars. And Since Then Humans Have Been Stuck Dealing With The Consequences Of A Crowded Mouth.

Believe It Or Not, Another Reason We Lost The Need For Our Wisdom Teeth Can Be Traced Back To The Way We Walk!
As We Started Walking Upright, The Arms Took On A Bigger Role In Gathering Food. Then, We Made Tools To Cut And Cook Our Food. Gradually, Our Food Became Softer And Required Less Chewing And Grinding. Once Our Dietary Intake Began To Change, So Did The Human Body. While Our Jaws Adapted To These Changes In Our Diet, Our Number Of Teeth Remained Constant. So Now There Is Just Not Enough Room Left To Accommodate That Extra Set Of Molars. But That Doesn't Stop Them From Trying To Grow In And Give Us An Incredible Amount Of Pain! Well, Not All Of Us.

According To Some Estimates, Some Lucky 35% Of The Population Is Born Without Wisdom Teeth. This Is Because Thousands Of Years Ago A Random Mutation Arose, Which Suppress The Formation Of Wisdom Teeth. This Trait Then Spread And Now Accounts For The Lack Of Wisdom Teeth Among Some Modern Humans.

Those Of Us Who Still Grow Wisdom Teeth Often Need To Have Them Surgically Removed. Because Of Our Smaller And Modern Jaws, Wisdom Teeth Often Grow Sideways, Only Partially Emerging From The Gums. Sometimes They Get Trapped In The Gums And Jaw Bone. Such Partially Impacted Wisdom Teeth Are Easily Contaminated With Bacteria, Which Can Result In Infection, Inflammation, Tooth Decay And Gum Disease.

Because Wisdom Teeth Are So Far Back In The Mouth It's Hard To Keep Them Clean And Get Rid Of The Bacteria. Fully Impacted Wisdom Teeth Can Also Get Infected And Disturb The Position Of Other Molars. These Consequences Can Spread Outside Of The Mouth, Causing More Health Problems. On The Bright Side, Some Researchers Believe That Wisdom Teeth Will Eventually Disappear Altogether.

As Evolution Continues, It's Likely That The Humans Of The Future Will Not Have To Deal With This Painful Struggle. Lucky Them!

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