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Darwin Dentistry Part 2

In a 1994 book, Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine the authors, Nesse and Williams, suggest that as humans have evolved they have become more susceptible to disease for a variety of reasons. Mainly coevolving with pathogens and genome mismatch to modern environment as the two big ones. Research suggests that dental caries has co-evolved with humans since they migrated out of Africa eons ago and even accelerated with the introduction of agriculture of refined grains and sugars.

It has been reported by anthropologists for some time now that human craniofacial volume has been decreasing since the adoption of agriculture to the human diet and rapidly since the 18th century in Western Europe. The results produce an increase in dental crowding and malocclusion. Comparing craniofacial volumes of the 15th or 16th centuries to modern volumes reveals jaws and faces simply do not grow to the size they used to.

Along with decreasing craniofacial volumes researchers are seeing a trend of increased diseases such as coronary heart disease and diabetes also mirroring the rise of agriculture. It’s reasonable to conclude then that malocclusions and maligned teeth are a result of environmental influences on humans rather than genetics.