The patriarchs named in the Bible as existing before the Flood lived to very long ages—some 900 or so years. So it has been asked—how could their teeth have lasted and remained functional throughout that time?
Of course, we don’t know with absolute certainty that they did in fact keep their teeth throughout those long lives. However, even in low-tech cultures today, one sees that people who look after their teeth reasonably well can keep them in fairly good condition for at least the majority of their life. And given that the design of the body as expressed in the genetics of the preFlood world was suited for a lifespan of 600–900 years1, it would be surprising if their teeth were designed to last for only the first 10% or so of their lifetimes.
Factors affecting tooth survival
Tooth decay can be considered, but it is not something that just inevitably progresses with age—it depends on things like diet and dental hygiene. Most of us would know of youngsters with badly decayed teeth, and very elderly people with a near-perfect set of choppers.
The main thing at issue is the capacity of the teeth to withstand the normal ‘wear and tear’ of grinding and chewing food. Regardless of how well they cleaned their teeth, and how optimal their diet was, would the tooth structure not simply wear out over such vast timespans? The question is worth exploring, even though the biblical account of preFlood longevity would not be particularly threatened if we failed to come up with a good answer. But it is of at least passing interest to find out whether they could have kept their teeth for several hundred years.
We can fairly assume, for simplicity, good dental hygiene and a good diet requiring a lot of chewing (as opposed to our modern diet), but not such a harsh existence that their food was mixed with significant dirt/sand, etc. which would greatly increase wear. (This may have become the norm in the harsh post-Flood period, of course, as shown in many ‘cave-man’ teeth.)….
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