Why are wisdom teeth called wisdom teeth?

22 Mar

Wisdom teeth are the only human teeth to develop entirely after birth.  They simply aren’t there when you’re a child, and next thing you know, BAM!  You’ve got toothache.

When the wisdom teeth (or third molars) are forming,  they start very high up and far back in the jawline.  This is what causes problems later on if the existing teeth are in the way of the new ones moving downwards.  It’s called impaction, and you REALLY don’t want it to happen.  When the teeth begin to grow, the area is subject to greater blood flow, more nutrients in the capillaries, greater need for oxygen and requires a whole range of other hormones to be present.  Calcium is particularly important but the growth and production of other cell types also occurs for the gums, nerves, and soft tissues that the wisdom tooth needs to embed.

All of this extra stimulation is happening in an area directly adjacent to the brain, resulting in growth and production of new brain cells.  So wisdom teeth may not actually make you more wise, but they do make your brain bigger.

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Posted by on March 22, 2010 in Why?


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