So…how did wisdom teeth become known as such? It goes back to the 17thCentury and at that time, they were called “teeth of wisdom. Usually these four molars are the last teeth to develop and erupt much later that your other teeth, normally between age 17 and 25. Since they appear so late this was referred to as the ‘age of wisdom’. The correct terminology wisdom teeth is ‘third molars’. You may not know that they serve little purpose now.
Why? Our wisdom teeth are a throw-back to our earliest ancestors. Our diet once consisted of very dense, course food such as root, nuts and meat. The jaw had to work harder in order to chew which caused the jawbone to develop into a larger, longer bone. As mankind evolved, so did our eating habits.
We now eat a lot of cut, processed foods that are much easier to chew and we simply don’t need the help from those extra molars. Plus, our jaw has become much smaller and this make is difficult to accommodate the wisdom teeth. They become impacted (trapped behind the second molars) and this is why most of us have had our third molars removed.