Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?
Posted on 8th September 2017 at 00:16
Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth and Do They Have To Be Removed? We Break The Myths About Wisdom Teeth
Why do we have Wisdom Teeth?
Most adults have thirty-two teeth, four of which are wisdom teeth. Unlike the rest of an adult’s pearly whites, the wisdom teeth do not emerge until the ages between 17 and 21.
These usually grow at the very back of the mouth, one in each corner. Because wisdom teeth are the last to come through, there is little or no room for them and they attempt to adjust where they can, however, this often leads to misalignment or pressure on the (already present) molars.
Not everyone develops wisdom teeth and those who do can have a single one, or a complete set of four, in some rare cases, they may have even more. Anthropologists believe that wisdom teeth (The third set of molars) were part of the natural set of teeth for our ancestors and that evolution has caused them to slowly disappear.
The diet of our ancestors required more effort on the mouth’s part. Chewing was harder and more forceful due to the nature of the foods consumed. Today our diet consists of softer, well-cooked meals and we are assisted by utensils. All this makes the whole eating process easier on our mouth and as a result, it means we no longer need the third set of molars.
Evolution has caused the shapes and sizes of human jaws to change and so this ancestral set of wisdom teeth no longer has a place in our mouth, but because evolution is a slow and lengthy process, we still see these teeth in many people even if they are now without a function.
At times Wisdom teeth can be harmless and remain in the mouth unnoticed, but often they can be blocked or become impacted and as a result, they turn into a threat.
When wisdom teeth become painful, or if they begin to encourage the formation of plaque and bacterial growth by creating ‘gaps’ in the gums they can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
At this point, a dentist will usually suggest extraction, unless the problem can be addressed by antibiotics. If you believe you are having issues with wisdom teeth, it is best to consult your dentist immediately rather than wait for your bi-annual check-up.
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