An Argument with Teeth

Seems a little trivial, but I was thinking about teeth and how despite good care and fluoride age takes its toll on teeth and gums. Some animals continually replace worn out teeth but human are stuck with one set after the baby teeth, and they last a lifetime. If the lifetime ends at 80 or so. By age 100, most have lost most of their teeth, if they are lucky enough to keep them that long. Ancient people fared worse, having to eat coarse grains ground with gritty stones, and tough meat and bones, as well as having poor care. At least they didn’t have sugar.
Have any of you run across any thoughts as to how those who adhere to a literal interpretation explain how Methuselah chewed his food, or if he gummed it the last 800 years?

3 Likes

That’s a good question – I haven’t really thought much about it, but I imagine the approach would either be “it was a miracle” (same for the long ages), or perhaps consider that to be a sign that uniformitarianism is false.

2 Likes

You know the drill.

I think it would probably be put under the banner of the genetic entropy where our genomes were just not that run down (whatever that is supposed to mean) and the same mechanisms that allowed humans to live for 900 years also would have naturally preserved our bodies including our teeth. I’m not sure how this works with baby teeth though because maybe Methuselah had a set of baby teeth for three hundred years and then they finally fell out?

Whatever the solution, the tooth hurts.

7 Likes

The pre-Flood atmosphere was different. Therefore, teeth lasted longer.

2 Likes

Easy. Dental implants. (An approach with which I have been getting all too familiar myself lately.)

Apparently dental implant sugery is a technique that has a much longer and more illustrious history than one would expect. The Chinese and the Egyptians were doing it as much as 4,000 years ago:

https://ourblog.hindincenter.com/dental-implants-history/

Besides, it isn’t much of a stretch to go from Noah having power tools and advanced technology to Methuselah having titanium bolts and porcelain crowns in his jaw.

5 Likes

Maybe he became the first plant-based vegan that made smoothies.

3 Likes

From my understanding from my old YEC days is that people where much healthier and had better genes before the Flood. That was what I heard a lot.

2 Likes

Obviously most of us don’t believe that but like others have said when YEC use to be talked about a lot the argument was basically that before god started rounding our years off at 100 ( though many lived longer after that xd ) the humans were closer to some kind of “ pre sin dying immortality” and so everything was stronger and lasted longer. It was also argued that since after the flood is when God gave permission to eat meat prior to that they had some kind of healthy vegan type diet and that the nutrients in plants were better too.

Those are the types of arguments I randomly heard.

I keep hearing that scientists are getting closer and closer to coming up with ways to make us last longer so maybe in 200 years they will have the answers to how maybe they did it then lol.

Perhaps water dilutes the genes? :wink:

2 Likes

Not sure if good genes would help much with teeth, unless you are able to incorporate diamonds or something similar in the enamel. Once formed, they don’t regenerate, but just wear out. At least in the rest of the body, there are living cells that could conceivably renew the tissue, but except for the pulp, teeth are what they are.

1 Like

Yep it sure is discouraging, isn’t it? I got my first root canal last year and I don’t suppose it will be my last. If only we had endless rows of teeth coming up as needed. Ah well.

Saw a knee surgeon about getting my first joint replacement yesterday. I have a feeling my hips might be in worse shape. My mother’s youngest sister was married to a guy still playing full court basketball in his 80’s. He’s on this third hip replacements. I don’t think this is anything I’d like to have seconds on.

2 Likes

I guess I should brush up on my punning. Brace yourselves.

4 Likes

I wood if I were an orthodontist.

1 Like

Maybe the bacteria involved in tooth decay and gingivitis had not yet evolved (or been created), or not yet colonized the mouths of humans

…which would be a terrible thing if they had; because they would have been deathless bacteria! The perfect microbial monsters!

No, I think the only way to answer Phil’s challenge about teeth just wearing down would just have to be that entropy still wasn’t fully fired up yet. Of course entropy only started after the first sin - but it probably took God a while to get that fully integrated into the new system.

[note to future quote miners - this is all sarcasm]

2 Likes

Well, some say that after the first sin, mankind “began to die” (to try and explain the “on the day you eat of it you will surely die” bit).

It’s something to chew on, anyway.

3 Likes

As I’m sure you know, dental wear is one of the ways that paleontologists determine the age at death of fossilized remains (e.g. juvenile, adult, “senile”). Perhaps the “rule” of Deut. 29:5 applied to teeth pre-Flood: “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.”

Here’s an interesting article in Smithsonian magazine summing up many things that can be discovered by examining teeth:

Pre-agriculture peoples also had significantly lower rates of cavities, and researchers have begun extracting bacterial DNA from calcified plaque to see how strains of bacteria changed after the introduction of farming.

Other researchers have studied the bacteria of ancient plaque to understand migration among the Polynesian islands

2 Likes

It is not just Mr. M’s teeth it would be the lot of them …if taken literally. If it is not literal then what is it? Why so precise?

Perhaps the better question would be their frail mental state at 969 - But we’re not told.

What about the literal sex and literal childbirth between the pensioners of Abram & Sarai?

If we are using logic, I think another good unanswered question is the survival of infants. Our own history last century speaks of large infant and mother death rates.

1 Like

Makes you wonder what we did to deserve that one, or maybe the place was just getting crowded and God just doesn’t like old people? :wink:

There’s probably an exponential tooth decay curve involved.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.