VERIFY: Are wisdom teeth disappearing?

We spoke to local experts about the future of wisdom teeth.

First Coast News Anchor Heather Crawford was getting her teeth cleaned when her dental hygienist said she was surprised that she still had her wisdom teeth. She proceeded to tell Heather that new research shows we are evolving and that future generations may not even grow wisdom teeth down the road. Curious, we had to verify this claim.

Our Verify Team reached out to Matt Gilg, a biology professor at the University of North Florida who also teaches evolution. He said about a third of the population doesn't grow wisdom teeth at all.

"It's unknown whether or not there's a genetic basis to that," he said. "If there is a genetic basis then it's possible that could change and in future human generations."

We also spoke with Andrew and Brian Maples, dentists at Advanced Dental Services. They said they don't really see an increase or decrease in patients who have wisdom teeth; that it depends on a case-by-case basis. They also said they rarely see people without any wisdom teeth.

"As the human brain expanded, our jaw bone got shorter and so with the shortening of the jaw bone, it basically cramped all those teeth into a shorter space, which is why a lot of humans have problems with wisdom teeth," Gilg said. "That can cause health problems and things like that, but there are some people that don't grow them."

VERIFY: So are wisdom teeth about to be a thing of the past? We can verify that it's just too early to tell.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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