EVER WONDERED HOW THE PRESSURE of the human bite stacks up against the bone-crushing pressure of a hyena bite? We may not have the power some creatures have—but the complexity and precision of the human bite is simply remarkable.
To demonstrate this delicate balance for yourself, try this… Pop a peanut M&M in your mouth and eat the chocolate around the nut, leaving the nut intact. Then, chew the nut. There’s a big difference in the pressure exerted when biting through the chocolate, versus biting through the nut. Also think about the coordination happening between your jaw muscles, brain, tongue, teeth and mouth to make this happen! Amazing.
Or, try this one… Bite into a fresh carrot. The force needed to do so is enough to crack your tooth enamel—yet, your jaw slows down in time to spare damage to your teeth. Our jaw control is sophisticated enough to “brake” and adjust pressure mid-bite!
Humans have less jaw muscle mass than gorillas and chimpanzees. However, this reduced mass doesn’t mean reduced strength. It indicates increased efficiency. In fact, the design of the human jaw makes it 40-50% more efficient than a primate’s. Pound for pound, humans exert more biting force than big apes.
Our jaws may be able to withstand lots of pressure, but our teeth are more fragile. Remember to be careful when chewing hard things like nuts and hard candies.
Like any complex system, our jaws can develop problems. If your jaw seems unusually sore too much of the time, if it locks up, seems to be contributing to headaches, or if you’re having any other concerns, let’s visit about potential causes and remedies.
We’re not only concerned with your teeth—we’re interested in your complete oral health.