Not everyone has wisdom teeth

I’ve had my wisdom teeth removed. Wisdom teeth are the third molars, and our jaws are just too small to handle them. This means that when they come in, they don’t fit. So they end up pushing against the second molars, and you get impacted wisdom teeth, and have to have them pulled out. Why on Earth do we have these blasted things?

Well, other mammals have them. They help with chewing and grinding food. But at one point our brains started getting bigger. Our jaws had to change size to compensate so the lower jaw could connect. But this led to a problem. There’s not enough room for all the teeth. The genes for teeth don’t change just because there isn’t enough room.

But some people don’t have this problem. Some ancestors had a mutation that stopped production of wisdom teeth. So many Inuit people don’t have this dental problem. About 45% of them don’t have wisdom teeth.