Teeth are getting smaller, but don't go measuring your children - or even your great-grandchildren.

The change is about 1 percent per 1,000 years, according to University of Michigan anthropologist C. Loring Brace, who attributes the shrinkage to better food preparation techniques putting softer food in our mouths.Teeth have shrunk about 50 percent in 100,000 years, and twice as fast in the past 10,000 years, says Brace, who has studied teeth for 25 years.

"The advent of earth ovens, pottery and other utensils has played a direct role," he says. Ancient cemeteries contain many bodies with no teeth where earthen ovens were common; in areas with ovens, there are more teeth.

"As softer cooked foods became available, our ancestors had less need of big strong teeth to survive," he says.