Malocclusion– misalignment of the teeth– is by far the most common reason patients come to Castilla Orthodontics when they are seeking braces in Salem, Oregon. Our orthodontic treatment not only solves the cosmetic complaints associated with malocclusion– it actually creates the correct environment for optimal oral health.

Malocclusion is a very common problem; it affects people all over the world, in every culture and continent. But recently scientists report findings that it may not have always existed.

The jaws of the ancients

Scientists are saying that while malocclusion and crowding has certainly been around for millennia, the human race may not have started out with these oral health problems.

Researchers analyzed the dimensions of both the lower jaws and teeth crowns in 292 skeletons aged 28,000 to 6,000 years old and hailing from areas spanning ancient Europe to the Middle East. The scientists report finding clear differences between the lower jaws of our ancestors who followed a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and the skeletal remains of humans who had begun to farm.

According to the researchers, the jaws of hunter-gatherers were significantly larger than their later agrarian counterparts. Per the researchers, the hunter-gatherers’ teeth were “in perfect harmony” with their jaws, showing no dental crowding or malocclusion, while the narrower jaws of their farming descendants showed both.

Diet and jaw type

The scientists hypothesize that because farming allowed our ancestors to enjoy “softer” foods– such as cooked grains or legumes– the necessity to have a big, strong, jaw for tearing meat or fibrous plants was no longer selected for.

However, while their jaws changed– their teeth didn’t. Researchers note that there was no co-occurring change in tooth size found in the ancient remains. That means that as the jaws of our ancestors became smaller, their teeth became more and more crowded.

Fortunately, modern humans have orthodontics

Malocclusion leads to many oral health problems: it can cause uneven wear and tear on teeth and subsequent enamel erosion; it makes cleaning teeth more difficult and cavities more likely; it can even compromise chewing and digestion. Malocclusion often leads to jaw problems, like TMJ, and pain– and on top of all this, malocclusion and dental crowding are often linked with lower self-confidence.

Our farming ancestors simply had to live with these problems (along with plenty of others!) but we don’t. Patients seeking braces in Salem, Oregon, have many choices of treatment and the benefit of excellent orthodontic training and care.

At Castilla Orthodontics, your confident, healthy, smile is our passion– and we enjoy working with patients to meet each individual need and concern. If you’re ready for orthodontic treatment, call for your free consultation with Dr. Castilla today.

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