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When asked what causes crowding in the mouth and the consequent need for braces, most dentists and orthodontists will point to genetics, but they probably won’t be able to point to a significant amount of evidence in support of that position. According to Sandra Kahn, Paul Ehrlich, and a number of under-acknowledged studies, the increased incidences of crowding in the mouth over the past few hundred years is related to decreased jaw size, which is related entirely to the environment in which we live. How? Kahn and Ehrlich explain that the modern human diet, which is comprised primarily of processed, easy-to-chew foods has significantly decreased the mechanical stress on the jaws, which is necessary in order for them to develop properly. They argue that it is this malformation of the jaws that are led to crowding in the mouth and changes in facial anatomy which prevent us from doing what we were designed by evolution to do: breathe through our mouths. This has led to an epidemic of sleep poor sleep and can be connected to a range of conditions, including Alzheimer’s, ADHD, and depression. “We’re in a really sad epidemic—one that a lot could be done about, but that not much is being done about,” says Ehrlich. Kahn and Ehrlich have made is their mission to raise awareness of this connection in the hopes of bringing it to the forefront of medicine and dentistry. Jaws: The Story of a Hidden Epidemic is a book that provides detailed explanations and illustrations of all of this and more.
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Check out their book at for detailed explanations and illustrations of all this and more.


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