Wisdom Teeth – Not So Wise After All
Have you ever wondered how our ancestors coped with wisdom teeth before there were dentists? I was 24 when my wisdom teeth suddenly started making a break for freedom. And I was stumped.
Now why did I have 4 extra teeth for which there wasn’t any room?
Usually our bodies fit together pretty well. The lungs, the heart, and all of the other organs usually fit into the torso of a human body pretty neatly. And I’ve never heard of anyone complaining that they have too many ears or that their hand just doesn’t have room for all five fingers.
So what gives with the wisdom teeth already?
In my case, all four teeth were impacted, meaning that they were underneath existing teeth. All of the available real estate for teeth was occupied.
Being very devoted to doing everything “the natural way,” I was puzzled. How did our great grandparents cope with impacted wisdom teeth?
It is true that some people only grow 2 wisdom teeth and some people don’t grow any. I gather that some of those people claim to be more evolved than those of us with four of those excess puppies. But as common as impacted wisdom teeth are, you would think that there would be more complaints about them in history or in classic literature.
But you never hear about the wisdom teeth of Queen Elizabeth. Jane Erye dealt with a lot of challenges in life, but wisdom teeth weren’t one of them. You don’t hear about wisdom tooth problems of Shakespeare, or Alexander the Great or King Tut. And heck they even have King Tut’s very skull right at the age that he should have been getting those teeth. But no one ever mentioned that his wisdom teeth were impacted.
Even now you don’t hear that impacted wisdom teeth are a major challenge in remote areas of the world. Consider the first people of Australia, Papua New Guinea or Brazil. Measles, small pox, and mumps pose problems, yes. But not wisdom teeth.
In a recent book called, “Your Inner Fish,” written by Neil Shubin, I learned that impacted wisdom teeth (and flat feet and many other modern maladies) are probably the result of our “civilized” lifestyle.
Having too many teeth…
So how can a civilized lifestyle make you grow too many teeth?
Before processed food –think flour — became so common, food was tougher and needed more extended and vigorous chewing. More chewing at an early age when bones are growing results in bigger and stronger jaw bones. Bigger jaw bones accommodate more teeth.
Evidently my impacted wisdom teeth are due to my childhood diet of Velveeta, Cream of Wheat and Wonder Bread.
Evolution has caused us to downsize our jaws but still hasn’t sorted out what to do with those extra teeth. Fortunately, we have trained oral surgeons to give us the relief we need.
If you know someone who is feeling ‘impacted‘ as they approach their downsizing move, remember that relief from the trained professionals at Moving Forward are just a phone call away!