Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, are kind of puzzling. Why do they come in when they often just end up being pulled? We’ll explain why we get them, why we don’t need them today, and why they become a problem.
Historically, our ancestors survived on raw meat, nuts, roots, berries, and leaves. They couldn’t cut food with knives, and they couldn’t cook their meat. They needed a broad jaw and strong molars to eat these foods.
Their large jaws easily accommodated strong molars. Therefore, they erupted normally in the mouth.
Their presence helps anthropologists determine a skeleton’s age. The skeleton of Turkana Boy, on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, is 1.6 million years old.
Because his third molars hadn’t come in when he died, researchers believe he was eight or nine years old.
Why We Don’t Need Them Now
Consider what we eat today. Many experts believe that the softer foods we eat today are what cause them to become impacted.
Almost everything we eat is chopped, diced, boiled, steamed, or baked. Preparation helps make eating a lot easier. Because of how we prepare and consume our food, our jaws have become smaller and narrower over time.
Children who eat tough foods have a greater chance of developing third molars. Our jaw cannot accommodate third molars if we don't eat tough foods, so we may need them extracted if we don't consume tough food.
What Causes Them to Be a Problem?
Our overall structure evolved as we evolved into modern humans. Our jawbones grew smaller and they began to misalign.
Because there was no room, some didn't develop completely.
Some people, however, do not have them. They may not even be visible. This can be caused by a number of factors, according to researchers. All these factors are linked to the angle and root development of the tooth, as well as the amount of space in the jaw.
Because of their positioning in the mouth, it is difficult for them to be properly cared for. Dentists may recommend removing them to save a patient's health in the long run.
How Did They Get The Name Wisdom Teeth?
The third molars are the last ones to enter our mouths. They usually erupt between 17 and 21 years old. Because of this later age, they became known as “wisdom” teeth. It may have something to do with the belief that “With age comes wisdom.”
That’s what you need to know about why you have wisdom teeth. If you’’re having earaches or headaches, stiffness or pain in your jaw, swelling in your jaw, pain in the back of your mouth, or any other mouth issues, they may need to be removed. Contact your dentist to schedule an appointment.