When did the human mouth begin to change? As it has not always been the same, a few different eras left their mark on what is now known as our oral history.
Researchers from the University College Dublin (UCD) recently analyzed the jaws and teeth dimensions of close to 300 skeletons found in a range of places dating back to 28,000 years ago.
The study found that during a shift to farming, eating habits were changed, leading to the shape and structure of the jawbones many have today. This change from eating hard foods such as wild meat and uncooked vegetables, to softer foods such as cooked vegetables, caused mouths over time to decrease in size. Although the size of the mouth and jaw decreased, the teeth did not, leading to the first cases of malocclusion or dental crowding.
Today, crowding of the teeth affects one in five people around the world. If left untreated, malocclusion can lead to serious health issues, making it difficult to clean the teeth and eat. This makes it all the more important to schedule regular appointments with an orthodontist, to have the structure and positioning of your teeth assessed and, if necessary, treatment like braces applied.
Remember these three tips to keep your mouth happy and healthy while wearing braces:
- Avoid biting hard with front teeth: Constantly hard biting using the front teeth can cause wear and tear on the braces as well as hurt the teeth themselves.
- Hard or sticky candy: This can become stuck to the surface of your braces, or inside the metal brackets. Likewise, if chewed hard enough, it can even break off pieces of the braces.
- Take care of braces: Be sure to brush twice daily for two to three minutes each time and floss to get food particles that may become stuck as well.