Earlier in the year, research conducted at the University of Kent discovered that a diet consisting of mainly soft food may be linked to orthodontic problems as well as a short jaw size. It is believed that the majority of orthodontic complications that people suffer around the world are a result of the ‘soft food’ modern diet that they are consuming. The resulting diet is also causing the jaw to grow shorter than it should be, creating a sizing mismatch between a person’s jaw and their teeth.
The study was conducted by Dr Noreen von Cramen-Traubadel, from the School of Anthropology and Conservation at the University of Kent. It was structured around a theory that has been debated for quite a while, according to which the transition from a hunter-gatherer to a more agricultural based subsistence has had a direct impact on the health of modern mankind. This occurrence has had a direct effect on the development and growth or both the human skull and the lower jaw resulting in orthodontic difficulties.
Dr Noreen compared the skull and lower jaw of different populations from all over the globe as well as studying dietary, genetic and climatic differences to assess her findings. Through the research she was able to identify the upper palate shape and the shape of the lower jaw is directly linked to the dietary of that respective population. It was also shown that the way the skull grows is strictly down to genetic relationships and factors, and that a person’s dietary behaviour has no effect.
It was also revealed that, no matter where in the world a person came from, the structure and size of their lower jaw is directly reflected on whether the respective person comes from a hunter-gatherer or agriculturist population. The way a person chews their food has a direct influence on the growth and shape of their lower jaw; the skull however, is in no way affected by dietary differences that affect the jaw.
Those that came from a hunter gatherer background had a lower jaw, which is longer and narrower than usual. When this occurs it means that there is enough space within the jaw for the teeth to grow out as they should normally. Those groups of people that are coming from an agriculturist based background presented short and broad jaw structures. This is what has resulted in orthodontic difficulties, whereby the jaw does not provide enough room for the teeth to protrude in a natural way leading to dental problems.
Gareth writes on behalf of AXA PPP healthcare providers of private healthcare options including dental plan coverage.