Study: A Softer Diet Has Crowded Our Teeth

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Have you ever wondered, “What’s the deal with painful wisdom teeth?” You can look to our ancestors for the answer. A shift from a hunter-gatherer diet to an agricultural-based diet may be to blame for an evolutionary shift from a long, thin jawline to a shorter one. The result? Too many teeth for too short of a mouth and jaw.

These dietary changes-from eating raw, unprocessed, harder foods to consuming softer, cooked foods-have been the subject of study by physical anthropologist Noreen von Cramon-Taubadel at the University of Kent in England, reports LiveScience.

She studied skulls from 11 different human populations, varying from hunter/gatherers to agriculture-based societies. The hunter/gatherers had longer jaws that worked harder to eat, while the others (that includes us), suffered from shorter jaws and the resulting wisdom tooth extraction and braces needed to get our teeth in line. The study was published online in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.

Related links:
Study: Aging Jaw May Crowd Teeth
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