top of page

Ancient Skulls Reveal Secrets of Straight Teeth and Shrinking Jaws

Long before the advent of modern dental interventions, our ancestors possessed remarkably well-aligned teeth, as evidenced by the captivating grins of antiquity. These prehistoric individuals lacked braces and fluoride toothpaste, yet their dental aesthetics were impressive. According to this IFL Science article, the key to this mystery may lie in the gradual reduction of human jaw size, leading to tightly arranged teeth, a hallmark of dental health in ancient times.

In stark contrast, our contemporary era grapples with a surge in impacted wisdom teeth, a consequence of crowded jaws. The American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons estimates that almost 90 percent of individuals today have at least one impacted wisdom tooth, often necessitating surgical extraction. Strikingly, historical records reveal that impacted wisdom teeth were far less prevalent in preindustrial societies, indicating a notably different dental landscape.

Evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman's research highlights the diverse dental health of ancient skulls. While more recent centuries display dental nightmares—cavities, infections, crowding—preindustrial farming societies boasted fewer cases of impacted wisdom teeth and cavities. Hunter-gatherer populations showcased impeccable dental health, eliminating the need for orthodontic and dental services within their Stone Age communities.

The decline in dental crowding among historical populations closely aligns with shrinking jaws observed through scientific analysis. A comprehensive 2015 study examined skeletons from 28,000 to 6,000 years ago, revealing that agricultural societies had smaller, differently shaped lower jaws compared to their hunter-gatherer predecessors. This transformation is attributed to shifts in dietary habits, where tougher, unprocessed foods once demanded robust jaw strength for chewing. Modern diets have exacerbated this trend, favoring easily consumable, processed foods that require minimal jaw effort.

These rapid changes, occurring over a few generations, stem from dietary shifts during infancy rather than genetic mutations. Beyond aesthetics, these changes have broader health implications. Smaller jaws contribute to sleep apnea and snoring by affecting airways, escalating the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, and other health issues.

Although returning to a Stone Age lifestyle is impractical, researchers advocate practical interventions. Encouraging robust jaw development in early childhood through sugar-free gum and transitioning to less mushy foods can mitigate the "jaw epidemic." Collaboration between parents, dentists, and orthodontists is vital to prevent future health complications.

If you have any orthodontic needs, we invite you to book an Orthodontic Consultation with our dental team and enjoy a modern, efficient and effective dental experience!

By The Lake Dental offers:

✅ +10 years caring for our community’s oral health needs

✅ A Platinum Invisalign dental office

✅ Direct billing to benefit provider

✅ Cutting-edge technology

✅ Full service family care

✅ Concierge experience

𝗪𝗲´𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗡𝗘𝗪 𝗣𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗘𝗡𝗧𝗦

Call us today: Ajax 905-428-2111, Highland Creek 416-284-8282.


By The Lake Dental is a full service – ‘one-stop shop’ - dental experience, where you and your family will have your dream smile come true. Whatever your dental needs are, we will deliver the right treatment plan for you. For us every smile does matter and our dental team is able to take care of and transform every single one of them.




Join our list to get the latest posts about oral health.


Join our list to get the latest posts about oral health.

Thanks for subscribing!



bottom of page