How Long Is Your Jaw?

90% of people have crooked or crowded teeth.

75% cannot accommodate wisdom teeth because their mouths are too small.  human jaw - paid - Depositphotos 11130577 s-2019

For decades, we have been told (and scientists believed) that the reason for crooked teeth is that our teeth are too big to fit into the jaw. Dr. Peter Ungar PhD., Of the University of Arkansas, disagrees. After 30 years of study, he believes that people’s jaws are not growing long enough to accommodate normal-sized teeth. Dr. Ungar also determined that most animals and human ancestors did not have overbites.

His explanation is this: “Jaw length is tied to strain resulting from heavy chewing. Our short jaws are a product of diet change.” Our ancestor’s teeth developed as they did to manage tough (difficult to chew) foods and an abrasive environment. As our diets have shifted to a softer cleaner diet, we do not chew enough. Chewing less and chewing softer foods has caused an imbalance between jaw length and tooth size. Because of the imbalance, jaws are not developing the way they should.

Several things remain under study, including the times of greatest jaw growth before they stop growing at age 18. In addition, scientists do not know yet whether eating tough foods best supports jaw growth in ongoing longer-term chewing or with short periods of intense chewing at particular ages.