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The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons has stated that 85% of people need their wisdom teeth removed. If this is the case, then what is the point of having wisdom teeth in the first place? Wisdom teeth often impact or partially erupt and cause issues such as tooth decay and gum disease. Why does our body create these teeth if they just cause problems?

The answer is that wisdom teeth are vestigial. This means that they once had a necessary function. This function is related to the diet of ancient humans. Hunter-gatherer peoples ate tough foods such as nuts, leaves, berries, roots, and raw meat. A larger jaw holding wisdom teeth was necessary for these people to eat the coarse foods of their diet.

The reason we no longer need wisdom teeth is that our bodies and circumstances have changed from that of our ancient ancestors. The food we eat today is often cooked, which softens it. We have more agricultural-based foods as well, which are not as tough as foods of the hunter-gatherer diet. Chewing is also made easier with the use of utensils to break food into pieces. Our bodies no longer need wisdom teeth or as broad of a jaw because of our modern diet.