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Most of us use our teeth on a daily basis. However, unless we have a toothache or some other serious dental mishap we don’t give much thought to teeth and their structure. On those occasions when we do, we realize how intricate and sophisticatedly shaped teeth are.

This short book will probably give you more information about teeth than most of us thought possible. It gives an evolutionary perspective on the development of teeth, and a lot of information on the difference in tooth structure between different species. It shows how truly structurally and mechanically remarkable teeth are. I doubt that even the best mechanical engineer would be able to design anything of comparable complexity.

The most relatable parts of the book are, naturally, those that explain the structure and the function of human teeth. Nonetheless, in order to appreciate their uniqueness it was necessary to contrast them to those of other animals, including those of primates – our closest relatives. The book offers some important insights, including the reason why has orthodontry become such a big issue in the West. Our modern diets feature prominently foods that are very preprocessed and soft, which puts far less pressure on our jaws during their development. Hence they become smaller, while still accommodating teeth of the same size. On the positive note our teeth don’t wear out as quickly as those of our ancestors, but the tradeoff is that many more of us now have to wear braces at some point.

Overall, this is a very interesting and well-written book that will provide you with a lot of new information. After reading it you will never think of your teeth the same way again.
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on 24 April 2014
A great book part of an greater series, Teeth: A Very Short Introduction provides the basics about tooth development, evolution and function. Perfect for those just starting to research teeth, or who are looking to get some background on the topic.
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