Wisdom teeth – they’re about as useful as a fifth wheel on a car!
These teeth grow way in the back of our mouths. As you know, dentists often remove wisdom teeth, sometimes before there are even any problems with them.
Wisdom teeth often grow-in crooked or are ‘impacted’ and can eventually cause pain. Theearlier in life they are removed the easier they are removed – as the roots haven’t developed much.
Our early ancestors may have needed these teeth more than us. Having more teeth would not only help in the chewing of tough animal flesh, but some people believe it also aided in the chewing of plants – something that helped compensate for an inability to easily digest cellulose (found in plants). Over time, as our diets changed, our jaws became smaller…but wisdom teeth still tend to appear.
Some scientists in Japan have actually harvested stem cells from extracted wisdom teeth. In some cases patients getting their wisdom teeth pulled have an option to have the stem cells gathered and saved in case they might ever be needed in the future.
So, not only don’t we need our wisdom teeth, they may actually be more useful out of our mouths than in.