Do you know why wooden dentures were a fad? Why they never caught on? You can figure it out for yourself by spitting in a bowl for a few days until you reach about ½ cup of saliva. Now, place a wooden toothpick into the saliva and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit. If you revisit the bowl in a few days, you’ll discover the toothpick is mushy. This is because our saliva has enzymes which break down cellulose – the main ingredient in wood. People needed teeth, but wooden teeth wasn’t the solution. By the way, one of our nation’s most famous recipients of the wooden tooth experiment was reported to be George Washington. But, he actually NEVER had wooden teeth. He did have some other odd dental procedures done and dentures made. I’ll tell you another fact about his dental hygiene in a moment.
Galatians 3:23-25 reads, Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. The Old Testament Law wasn’t a mistake by God, a failed experiment. It was part of the path that led us to the realization that we’d never be able to uphold even part of the Law. Our stark depravity in the face of God’s pristine, perfect holiness. What looks like condemnation (or unloving judgment) to many is actually part of the process of grace that makes us aware of the extent of our need.
We’re sometimes hesitant to speak about God’s grace to people because we’re afraid to sound judgmental. However, most people already know they aren’t perfect. We just need to understand we’re helping provide the natural next step in helping them find the solution for their known need. Anyone who’s every worn a pair of wooden dentures soon realizes they are not the solution. They may not yet know what it is, but there’s got to be something better than mushy wooden teeth. Wouldn’t you want someone to tell you?
By the way, President George Washington did get a new set of choppers fit for the president of a new nation. He ended up with a set made of hippopotamus ivory/teeth. However, he didn’t get those until late in his presidental term. Did you know that when he took the oath of office in 1789, he only had one original tooth left in his mouth? He lost his first adult tooth at 18, and by age 22, the rest were already rotting out. When he posed for his official portrait, the picture used on the $1 bill today, his mouth hurt so much he had to take his false teeth out. Artist Gilbert Stuart packed cotton under George’s lips and cheeks to plump them out and keep him from looking like a sunken-faced mummy. Washington also had some of his slaves’ teeth surgically transplanted into his jaw. It was a flop, and the teeth had to be removed. When he finally got the good choppers, they were attached by springs. In fact, the original set had a problem of springing open and causing Washington pain when he couldn’t get them to close. There are a few meetings in which the notes say the president couldn’t speak because his mouth was stuck open. Now you know what it meant. One of President Washington’s denture sets is reportedly owned by the University of Maryland Dental School and numerous other dental artifacts are on permanent display at the Dr. Samuel Harris National Museum of Dentistry in downtown Baltimore. One of the original sets was on loan to the Smithsonian for the 1776 bicentenial celebration, and was stolen from a museum storage area. That set was likely taken for the gold content, and they’ve never been recovered.
And you thought you had teeth problems!
The unexamined life and all…
Posted: March 29, 2011
Filed under: Deep Thoughts with Pastor Jeff, Humor, Jeff, Pastor Jeff, Patriotic, Pictures, Spiritual
Tagged: dentures, Galatians, George Washington, Old Testament Law, Pastor Jeff Denton, teeth
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