Utensils and Misaligned Teeth: Are they Connected?

Crooked teeth are a considerable concern for many people. Otherwise, providers People with Crooked Teethof Invisalign in Solihull and elsewhere would likely close shop. The value of Invisalign (not to mention the overall importance of orthodontics), however, is more than just aesthetics. Crooked teeth are vulnerable to decay because they’re tough to clean, for one.

While orthodontics can certainly remedy the situation, it’s still a curious thought why humans tend to have misaligned teeth, to begin with. Many experts believe it might be due to the use of eating utensils, specifically the fork. The oral problem in question is the overbite.

Historical Bits

Bee Wilson, author of the book Consider the Fork, writes about the evolution of cooking and eating technology. She cites several bits of evidence which may explain why many people have an overbite. Archaeological evidence suggests that until roughly 250 years ago, humans had an edge-to-edge bite. This means that human teeth are almost perfectly aligned. The top layer touches the bottom layer almost completely, without deviation.

Wilson also notes that there are instances of a sudden change in the alignment of the jaw—an overbite. This describes when the top layer of the teeth overlaps the bottom layer, in various degrees of severity. Wilson notes the research by American anthropologist C. Loring Brace, which states that cutlery is the main culprit of overbites.

This is probably evolution at work, and in plain sight. It’s been discussed many times how the human body differs, compared to days of yore. Various changes in diet, lifestyle, personal hygiene, and other factors involving modern human living have caused physical changes. Perhaps the development of the overbite is an evolutionary adaptation mechanic. Constant use of solid tools probably ‘forced’ the human jaw and mouth to evolve and work with the tool, in order to maintain efficiency and comfort.

It makes sense to assume as much. Furthermore, if the overbite is a problem, it is something that can be corrected. Orthodontic appliances are only getting better, with Invisalign being a great example. Still, it’s an interesting thought to see the physical changes the human body has experienced, and the ones that are to come in several hundred years’ time.