Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

Posted on 5/9/2022 by Cole Anderson, DMD, MS
Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?Many professionals in the scientific community including anthropologists argue that humans have wisdom teeth because of the primitive diet our ancestors adopted. The earliest humans ate a lot of seeds, nuts, and tough meats. As expected, all those raw, tough, unprocessed foods caused wear and tear on the teeth. For that reason, by the time humans hit their late teens and early twenties, almost all their first and second molars had been worn out. The human body had to compensate for that impact by producing another set of molars known as the wisdom teeth or third molars.

Changes in Human Nutrition

After many centuries, humans found different ways of preparing and processing foods. Besides, they started using eating utensils that allowed them to cut their foods into small pieces before putting them in the mouth. As such, the teeth had little wear and tear. Ultimately, it reached a point where humans no longer relied on wisdom teeth for survival.

Wisdom Teeth in Present Times

For many years, humans have adapted to evolving living conditions whereby our bodies have gone through certain changes. Among these changes is the development of small mouths than those of our ancestors. However, although humans have shifted to have smaller mouths, the genes for the development of wisdom teeth haven't disappeared. A significant number of people still develop wisdom teeth. And a majority of people who develop these teeth find that they lack adequate space in their mouth to accommodate an additional set of molars or wisdom teeth.

Today, wisdom teeth are seen as an unnecessary part of the mouth. They are no longer needed for survival. Besides, wisdom teeth can contribute to various oral health complications, including the risk of infection and overcrowding. As such, our dental specialists recommend extracting wisdom teeth, especially during adolescence or early adulthood. To understand why you need to get your wisdom teeth extracted, contact our Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery office.

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