They are located in the back of our mouth. Because of their location, it is difficult to brush them properly. Also, we don’t seem to ever need them for chewing. Dentists even recommend pulling them out. And nobody has ever made the claim that they somehow make us any wiser. Given all of that, why exactly were our bodies designed to have wisdom teeth?

Where Did the Name Come From?

First, let’s delve into how they got their name. To begin with, the extra four teeth way in the back of the mouth are officially called the third molars. But at some point during human existence, people began using the term “wisdom teeth” because they typically come in between the ages of 17 and 25; this stage of a person’s life is often referred to as the “age of wisdom.” And so the name of the period was applied to the name of the teeth that appear during that period.

What Purpose Do They Serve?

In modern times, there is virtually no purpose at all for wisdom teeth to be there. But that has not always been the case for humans. The most popular theory suggests that wisdom teeth existed because early humans did not always have the luxury of cooking meats, which made it harder for them to chew the meat. Also, many early humans had to survive by eating more coarse foods than we consume today, such as the roots of plants.

Our earliest ancestors also had larger faces, including their jaws. This larger feature meant that they had more room in their mouths for wisdom teeth to grow. However, over time, the average size of the human jaw has dramatically decreased. Nowadays, there are some people who never get their wisdom teeth at all. And for those of us that do end up with wisdom teeth, the lack of room in the back of our mouths often means that wisdom teeth cause pain and force the neighboring teeth to become crooked.

Should They Be Removed?

Almost everyone living today agrees that wisdom teeth removal is essential. Not only do we no longer need them to chew, but they are also notorious for being a breeding ground for germs and diseases. They just no longer need to be a part of our mouth. For people who choose to keep them, it is highly recommended that they spend extra time brushing them properly.

If you’re wanting more information on other health related topics, we recommend checking out the health section of our website!

Resources:

Wisdom Teeth | Colgate

Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth? | NV Oral and Facial

Dental Health and Wisdom Teeth | WebMD