Wisdom teeth removal is an expected procedure for those who are 17-25 years old. About 85% of people undergo this operation according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. But if it is so common to have wisdom teeth removed, then why do our bodies grow them in the first place?
Diet Of Our Ancestors
Ancient hunter-gatherer peoples actually needed their wisdom teeth in order to eat. Their diet consisted of tough foods such as roots, leaves, nuts, and raw meat. These foods required more chewing force to be grinded down, which is how wisdom teeth and a larger jaw came into play.
Why We Don’t Need Wisdom Teeth Today
Our modern diet is less harsh than that of our ancestors. We cook food to soften it, eat more agricultural products, and use utensils to cut food into pieces. Less force is required for chewing, which means that wisdom teeth are vestigial, or no longer necessary.
Problems Wisdom Teeth Can Cause
A large jaw to chew foods with is something else that has no longer become necessary. Because our jaws are smaller today, they can no longer allow wisdom teeth to properly erupt. This can result in problems such as gum disease, damage to adjacent teeth, tooth decay, cysts, and tumors. These dental health problems are the reasons we have our wisdom teeth removed.