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How does Paleo explain modern problems with wisdom teeth?

Commented on September 22, 2013
Created September 20, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Problems with wisdom teeth seem to be very common. It seems strange that its so prevalent. Can it be attributed to Neolithic diet and lifestyle? My thought here is that jaws have been getting smaller and the complications from wisdom teeth are increasing as a result.

But what of those who have non-problematic wisdom teeth? I'm in my early 30s and still have mine in. They're all in with a little crowding and occasional inflammation and only 1 infection and 1 cavity so far. Should they come out?

I've got an open bite and I'm clenching a lot so it's been suggested that I pull them to reduce masticatory muscle strain. So in pondering the answer to this question, I'm also wondering whether otherwise it makes sense to pull them anyway. I always said "no" in the past in part because I wasn't brave enough to go through surgery but it seemed silly to waste perfectly good natural teeth when (at the time) I wasn't having problems!

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on September 22, 2013
at 07:32 PM

Interesting thought. I wonder if this point can be used to explain the cause of bruxism somehow? An improperly developed jaw resulting in bruxism in an attempt to correct growth but that's ultimately unsuccessful with a modern diet (but left with the habit)?

Medium avatar

(238)

on September 21, 2013
at 06:07 PM

I had a mouthful of cavities as a kid, I guess I still do. My kids don't get soda and all the junk I ate so they have 1 cavity between the two of them. We don't have flouride in the water here in Portland so that isn't it.

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7 Answers

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43e6e312fcc6b2cd2238e7898ad50480

on September 21, 2013
at 10:35 AM

You can read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston Price here:

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200251h.html

It is an absolutely fascinating read. I can't remember it addressing wisdom teeth specifically - he was more interested in what caused cavities and crowding - but he linked dental health with robust overall health, which he associated with a natural, traditional diet. What's so interesting is how widely varied these traditional diets are. They run the gamut of everything the planet has to offer. It really tears a hole in the 'one size fits all' approach to nutrition.

0
A048b66e08306d405986b6c04bf5e8e4

on September 22, 2013
at 06:05 PM

Absolutely. The skull of the oldest homo sapien ever found, in what is modern-day Israel, had very straight and white teeth and had all his wisdom teeth. This is because an organism's teeth are custom made to fit it's diet, and this oldest homo sapien on record (I forgot what the archaeologists call him) no doubt ate a hunter-gatherer diet that was strictly intended for humans to eat. The food he ate was probably a lot tougher, too, and his jaws got a workout every time he ate, and when we exercise our jaws, our bones develop, and his jaw therefore developed to accomodate all his wisdom teeth. Neolithic food is a lot softer, so our jaws don't get the same kind of development and growth to accomodate all our wisdom teeth.

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on September 22, 2013
at 07:32 PM

Interesting thought. I wonder if this point can be used to explain the cause of bruxism somehow? An improperly developed jaw resulting in bruxism in an attempt to correct growth but that's ultimately unsuccessful with a modern diet (but left with the habit)?

0
Medium avatar

on September 21, 2013
at 11:49 AM

I always thought it was the other way around: Wisdom teeth explaining paleo. The idea is that wisdom teeth are a residual of evolution. It was useful in the past when the average jawbone was larger. Therefore it is a prove that our bodies are still influenced by our genes from million of years ago, same goes about the idea of paleo nutrition.

Regarding cavities, I do believe that is a whole different story. Maybe there is no evolutionary factor involved, just modern diet.

Medium avatar

(238)

on September 21, 2013
at 06:07 PM

I had a mouthful of cavities as a kid, I guess I still do. My kids don't get soda and all the junk I ate so they have 1 cavity between the two of them. We don't have flouride in the water here in Portland so that isn't it.

0
Medium avatar

on September 21, 2013
at 11:49 AM

I always thought it was the other way around: Wisdom teeth explaining paleo. The idea is that wisdom teeth are a residual of evolution. It was useful in the past when the average jawbone was larger. Therefore it is a prove that our bodies are still influenced by our genes from million of years ago, same goes about the idea of paleo nutrition

Regarding cavities, I do believe that is a whole different story. Maybe there is no evolutionary factor involved, just modern diet.

0
Medium avatar

on September 21, 2013
at 11:49 AM

I always thought it was the other way around: Wisdom teeth explaining paleo. The idea is that wisdom teeth are a residual of evolution. It was useful in the past when the average jawbone was larger. Therefore it is a prove that our bodies are still influenced by our genes from million of years ago, same goes about the idea of paleo nutrition.

Regarding cavities, I do believe that is a whole different story. Maybe there is no evolutionary factor involved, just modern diet.

0
Medium avatar

on September 21, 2013
at 11:46 AM

I always thought it was the other way around: Wisdom teeth explaining paleo. The idea is that wisdom teeth are a residual of evolution. It was useful in the past when the average jawbone was larger. Therefore it is a prove that our bodies are still influenced by our genes from million of years ago, same goes about the idea of paleo nutrition.

Regarding cavities, I do believe that is a whole different story. Maybe there is no evolutionary factor involved, just modern diet.

0
Cb707cb9ab8a4ad743638a0c43c3f278

(105)

on September 20, 2013
at 06:44 PM

You would like the documentary Perfect Human Diet, where creators mentioned a work of dentist Weston Price. You could find plenty of pictures around the web comparing native people with perfect dental arc, wide jaws, therefore enough space for wisdom teeth and modernized people with cavities, narrow jaws and wisdom teeth problems. It makes a lot of sense to me and the actual absence of teeth problem today is like jackpot.

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