Why So Many People Need Orthodontic Treatment

Have you ever thought about the evolution of your teeth? It’s a very interesting story. Your Lake Forest Dentist, Dr. Fondriest, did  some research regarding the evolution of human teeth. Take his true and false quiz below to find out how much you know about tooth evolution and why so many people need orthodontic treatment.

True or False

  1. 1.      T or F: Both humans and mammals that live in the wild have crooked teeth and malocclusion. It’s just a natural thing.
  2. 2.      T or F: Since our ancient ancestors the human jaw and human teeth have been decreasing in size.
  3. 3.      T or F: One reason human teeth are decreasing in size is because modern humans eat less meat.
  4. 4.      T or F: Other reasons for the decrease in size include the invention of cooking utensils and pottery.


  1. False: You may find it interesting to learn that mammals that live in the wild have perfect occlusion and straight teeth. Humans, on the other hand, have an extremely high occurrence of malocclusion and crooked teeth. Crooked teeth and malocclusion are not natural. Your teeth are meant for eating and the straighter they are and the healthier your jaw the more foods you can process.
  2. True: Studies show that between 10,000 and 35,000 years ago the decrease in tooth size averaged about one percent for every 2,000 years. From 10,000 years ago until now, the rate of decrease has doubled to one percent every 1,000 years.
  3. False: The opposite is true. Modern humans eat more meat than their ancestors. Larger teeth and stronger jaws were required thousands of years ago to chew coarse leaves and other vegetable materials.
  4. True: Over time, with the inventions of utensils (sharp cutting tools, knives, and forks), earthen ovens, and cooking/eating vessels made of pottery, foods became softer and easier to chew. They could be cut into smaller pieces and cooked for longer periods of time in soups and stews. These developments gradually made the need for large herbivorous teeth (for coarse vegetables), sharp teeth (for shredding and tearing), and big, strong jaws (for large pieces of food) obsolete.

About Your Lake Forest Dentist:

Aside from providing dependable general and restorative dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is an adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve patients from all surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.

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