If we apply the “Cell Volition Theory” to human growth we need to remember the importance of ‘position’ or in its long-term context ‘posture’, as this is what enables the cells to grow naturally to the right place with no pushing or pulling. I was taught that during evolution the genes changed slightly over the years and that most malocclusion is due to changes in the genes, caused mainly by alterations in our diet’, is that true?
The evolution of the Giraffes long neck took over ten million years. This is a minute amount each generation, but many orthodontic text books teach that that evolution changed the shape of human jaws from near ideal to almost universal malformation in the last 18.000 years. This just did not make sense to me and when I looked closer I found that the different types of malocclusion did not first appear in a certain area and gradually spread, but every type of malocclusion appeared in different places around the world wherever and whenever the standard of living rose above a certain level.
Many people believe farming led to the content of our food changing but I believe that food consistency is more important. Farming started over ten thousand years ago, however I think more important changes have occurred since, as in the middle ages we started to move into houses that were better and better insulated. This undoubtedly has increased the allergens floating in the air and the allergies we have developed to them which often precipitate mouth breathing. Research suggests (Glatz-Noll & Berg 1991) that healthy four to five year old civilised children leave their mouths open over 80% of the time. This can have a profound effect on facial growth (see picture of mandible below) within as little as four years.
We should not forget the reduction in breast feeding over the last two to three hundred years. This has undoubtedly increased the ratio of those with poor tongue posture. The cumulative effect of these various changes on our pattern of living has been huge and almost everyone now has relatively flat cheek bones compared to our ancestors of just a few hundred years ago. Sadly the main effect is to lengthen the face and as faces lengthen the jaws are moved back, this automatically shortens the dental arch, creating the crowded teeth which are so common today.
To those who ask me how to prevent this happening to their children I say “Sell your house and buy a cave in a mountain. Then live on raw food that you find for yourself”. Not many people are going to do that so what else can we advise?
Please engage with Prof John Mew or Dr Mike Mew on this topic;
Professionals (of any medical/health discipline);
Please consider joining our Patreon Community: