In many ways, human teeth are a marvel. They are with us for the majority of our lives, they help us speak and smile, they can chew through and break down tough or hard foods, and they withstand heat, cold, and immense pressure. Moreover, enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. And yet, humans often struggle with teeth that are misaligned, overcrowded, misshapen, discolored, and prone to decay. Most of us have dealt with a need for some sort of dental work, whether it be braces, fillings, extractions, or just a general cleaning. Sometimes it's like no matter how hard humans try to care for our oral health, our teeth just commonly have problems. But why? In this blog post we take a closer look at human teeth and how they have evolved.
Evolutionary Changes in Humans Due to Diet
As seen throughout nature, the teeth of many species have changed over time in response to the diet and lifestyle habits of that particular group, and humans are no exception. Hence, part of the reason we experience oral health issues is due to evolution. The jawbones of our hunter-gatherer ancestors used to grow a lot longer, bigger, and stronger when they were working harder to grind down things like meat, raw vegetables, and roots. As our food system changed to softer, cooked foods thanks to agriculture, human jaws grew shorter and smaller. However, we retained the same number of teeth that also remained the same size. This often results in crowding and wisdom teeth that are too big for the jaw.
Modern Dietary Effects
When it comes to the prevalence of tooth decay, a main contributor is our modern-day diet. We have hundreds of heavily processed and sugary foods at our disposal, sometimes even masquerading as healthy by advertisers. It can be challenging to navigate the supermarket maze and strive to eat tooth-healthy meals that are affordable, all while juggling a busy schedule. Fortunately for our patients, Today’s Dental can solve many of your dental woes. Whether you need advice on oral hygiene, a tooth replacement, a straighter smile, treatment for decay or gum disease, or other dental care, our expert team is here to help. Contact us today to set up your next visit.