Are wisdom teeth vestigial organs?

When our ancestors ate leafy plants, as well as a tough diet of roots and raw eat, they needed more room to chew their food.

As time went on our diets became softer, we developed ways to cook our food to make it easier to eat and our jaws became smaller.

As our jaw evolved, it became too small to easily accommodate our wisdom teeth, which are also known as our third molars.
Wisdom teeth are considered a vestigial organ -- no longer useful -- because our diet has evolved. Early humans ate a mostly raw diet of foraged plants and hunted animals, which required a lot of rough chewing. That wore down their teeth. By the time wisdom teeth, the last molars, erupted between ages 17 and 25, their other molars and teeth had worn down, allowing room for the wisdom tooth to come in. With the introduction of cooking, our food got noticeably softer and our teeth remain in good shape. Also, modern orthodonture helps us keep a well-rounded mouth structure. As a result, there often is not enough room for wisdom teeth to erupt without damaging the other teeth, or else they may become impacted when they start to erupt and need to be removed.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.