One of the only times that you typically hear people talk about wisdom teeth is when they are discussing removing them. You might be wondering what the purpose of these teeth are if we just take them out as soon as they grow in. It turns out that there is a fascinating historical reason behind the purpose of wisdom teeth.
What Do Wisdom Teeth Do?
Wisdom teeth fall into a category of the tooth called molars. Molars are the strongest and largest type of teeth that people have, and they are situated at the back of the mouth. Their uniquely flat shape is ideal for grinding up food. The main purpose of wisdom teeth is simply to break your food into tiny pieces that can be swallowed and digested with ease.
Why Do We Grow Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth were an essential part of our ancestors’ tooth development. These teeth were essential back in the times when humans primarily ate nuts, roots, meat, and whole grains. The ancient diet was filled with rough food that humans did not have the equipment or skill to cook until soft, so humans needed to be able to grind food into tiny bits. As humans gained the ability to cook food and turn grain into flour, wisdom teeth became less important. Many people no longer develop all of their wisdom teeth, and now they may only grow somewhere between one to four.
Do We Still Need Wisdom Teeth Today?
Since wisdom teeth were so useful to humans in the past, some people wonder why they are typically taken out today. The issue is that humans jaws have been gradually getting smaller and smaller over the years. Though we still have wisdom teeth, the average person’s mouth is no longer large enough to fit these teeth comfortably. Since there is no room for wisdom teeth, as they erupt out of the jaw, they can damage nearby teeth and shift the rest of the teeth in your mouth. In many cases, the tooth gets stuck halfway out of the gum because there is no more room for it to emerge, leading to a painful infection in the back of a person’s mouth. Since they are no longer needed for a modern diet and cause so many issues, many people just go ahead and get them removed.
If you have concerns or questions about wisdom teeth or any other dental or oral care issue, please contact Mountain View Dental today. We treat a countless number of patients inside our comfortable and professional office. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call (385) 324-3557.