Impacted molars are undoubtedly one of the most undesirable of all human conditions. But did you know that there are people in the world that lack wisdom teeth entirely? We find out the scientific reasons behind this astonishing phenomenon.
Some ethnic groups are more likely to lack wisdom teeth than others. Most Asians have a flatter face in comparison to Europeans or Africans which means that their jaws are narrower and have less space for wisdom teeth. Over time, the narrow jaw is thought to have evolved to not sprout wisdom teeth at all.
Size of teeth
Ethnic groups that have larger teeth are also more likely to have fewer wisdom teeth or may lack them entirely since they have no space in their jaws for the extra teeth and have no use for them either as the rest of third teeth are enough to grind food.
One of the biggest reasons why some people have fewer or no wisdom teeth is the same as why some people are born with eyes in different colors or a certain hair color. It is because of an ancient mutation in our genetic structure. Whether this has anything to do with evolution or whether this was one of the freak mutations that happened for no reasons, is still up for debate within the scientific community.
Evolutionary point of view
For a better part of human evolution, we did not have access to pain medication or dentistry. Back then, the only way to keep an impacted or inflamed wisdom tooth from throwing off your mojo was to either find a magic mushroom or leaves with antiseptic properties or to just grin and bear it till the pain went away on its own. Since procreation was necessary for the survival of the species, individuals that had wisdom teeth and were prone to tooth pain got laid less often. Hence, over a period of time, the genes that gave people wisdom teeth were subdued.
(1) Reader Comment
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