Why Cavemen Didn’t Need Braces

Modern industrialized societies are plagued by crowded, ill-aligned teeth — a condition that the dental profession refers to as “malocclusion” or “bad bite.” As much as a fifth of the U.S. population has significant malocclusion, and half require at least some degree of orthodontic intervention. Braces, tooth extractions, and retainers are the bread and butter for all dentists and orthodontists tasked with setting straight our dental deviations. As it turns out, our ancestors didn’t suffer from crooked teeth to the same extent that we do today. The epidemic of crooked teeth actually developed over time. The jaws of hunter-gatherers reveal roomy, perfect arches of well-aligned teeth, with no impacted wisdom teeth. So what’s happening to our mouths. The answer has been lying right under our noses: the problem is our jaws. Over time, our teeth have grown crooked because our jaws have grown smaller. In a nutshell, the invention of eating tools required less need for powerful jaws to tear and chew meat. The bottom line: How we eat is just as important as what we eat.