Wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to erupt, or grow through the gum tissue. This takes place around age 16.
Many people do not have room in their mouths for these teeth to grow in a way that supports good oral hygiene. That means the teeth, and those near them, are at greater risk for decay.
So why do we have wisdom teeth?
Scientists believe that when our ancestors ate foods that were highly abrasive, their teeth were worn down from all the chewing. This may have created more room for the wisdom teeth to fit in.
Today, we need to chew less than in the past. We also lose fewer teeth to diseases and trauma than people did in earlier times. Therefore, there is often not enough room for a person’s wisdom teeth to fit.
In fact, many dentists recommend wisdom teeth removal.