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The Problems of the Modern Jaw

April 10, 2018

Paul Ehrlich wants you to shut your mouth – for your health. According to Ehrlich’s new book, mouth breathing, among other modern habits, has led to an epidemic of small jaws and many troubling health consequences.

Our jaws are becoming too small. At least, that is what Stanford’s Paul Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies, Emeritus, believes. Working with orthodontist Sandra Kahn, Ehrlich has spent years studying the connection between underdeveloped jaws, modern life and myriad health and quality-of-life issues. This research is the subject of Kahn and Ehrlich’s new book, Jaws: The Story of a Hidden Epidemic.

Read this interview

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There’s a silent epidemic in western civilization, and it is right under our noses. Our jaws are getting smaller and our teeth crooked and crowded, creating not only aesthetic challenges but also difficulties with breathing. Modern orthodontics has persuaded us that braces and oral devices can correct these problems. While teeth can certainly be straightened, what about the underlying causes of this rapid shift in oral evolution and the health risks posed by obstructed airways?

Sandra Kahn and Paul R. Ehrlich, a pioneering orthodontist and a world-renowned evolutionist, respectively, present the biological, dietary, and cultural changes that have driven us toward this major health challenge. They propose simple adjustments that can alleviate this developing crisis, as well as a major alternative to orthodontics that promises more significant long-term relief. Jaws will change your life. Every parent should read this book. (Amazon)


Wikipedia article about Jaws/ Prognathism

Prognathism – Mandibular prognathism (progenism)

Prognathism in humans can be due to normal variation among phenotypes. In human populations where prognathism is not the norm [this condition may be considered somewhat “normal” for some populations], it may be a malformation, the result of injury, a disease state or a hereditary condition.

Prognathism is considered a disorder only if it affects mastication, speech or social function as a byproduct of severely affected aesthetics of the face.

Mandibular prognathism (progenism)
15th-century lantern with a jutting base.

Pathologic mandibular prognathism is a potentially disfiguring genetic disorder where the lower jaw outgrows the upper, resulting in an extended chin and a crossbite. It is sometimes a result of acromegaly.[citation needed]

This condition is sometimes colloquially known as lantern jaw (the OED defines lantern jaw differently, as “long thin jaws, giving a hollow appearance to the cheek”, like an old lantern with concave horn sides), and Habsburg jaw, Habsburg lip, or Austrian Lip (as depicted in portraits of Charles V of the House of Habsburg), due to its prevalence in that bloodline. The trait is easily traceable in portraits of Habsburg family members. This has provided tools for people interested in studying genetics and pedigree analysis. Most instances are considered polygenic.

It is alleged to have been derived through a female from the Mazovian branch of the princely Polish family of Piast. The deformation of lips is clearly visible on tomb sculptures of Mazovian Piasts in the St. John’s Cathedral in Warsaw. However this may be, there exists evidence that the trait is longstanding. It is perhaps first observed in Vlad Dracula (1431–1476/77) and Maximilian I (1459–1519).[citation needed]

Traits such as these that were common to royal families are believed to have been passed on and exaggerated over time through royal intermarriage which caused acute inbreeding. Due to the large amount of politically motivated intermarriage among Habsburgs, the dynasty was virtually unparalleled in the degree of its inbreeding. Charles II of Spain is said to have had the most pronounced case of the Habsburg jaw on record. His jaw was so deformed that he was unable to chew…

Read this Wikipedia article


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