Teeth play an important role in our lives. We use them every day for eating, speaking, and smiling. Yet how often do we think about what the Bible says about teeth? Teeth are mentioned numerous times in Scripture, giving us insight into their theological and spiritual significance. In this post, we will explore the many references to teeth in the Bible and what they reveal about God’s design and purpose for this crucial part of the human body.
As Christians seeking to live biblically, it’s important that we understand what God’s Word says about all aspects of our lives, including our bodies. Our teeth are a vital part of the body God has given us. Keeping our teeth strong and healthy is essential to living productively and enjoying the foods God has provided. Additionally, clean and attractive teeth are part of stewarding the body well for God’s glory.
In the Bible, teeth appear in narratives, laws, proverbs, prophesies, and visions. Examining these verses provides revelations about:
- The theological symbolism of teeth
- Teeth’s role in health, hygiene, and appearance
- The spiritual importance of teeth in relationships
- How teeth feature in God’s judgment and justice
- Ways God supernaturally interacts with teeth
As we explore what the Bible says about teeth, we will gain insight into God’s design and purpose for this crucial part of the human body. Let’s begin by looking at some key biblical passages that mention teeth.
Key Biblical References to Teeth
- Job 19:20 – My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh, And I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.
- Psalm 3:7 – Arise, O LORD; Save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have shattered the teeth of the ungodly.
- Psalm 35:16 – With ungodly mockers at feasts They gnashed at me with their teeth.
- Psalm 112:10 – The wicked will see it and be grieved; He will gnash his teeth and melt away; The desire of the wicked shall perish.
- Proverbs 10:26 – As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, So is the lazy man to those who send him.
- Proverbs 30:14 – There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, And whose fangs are like knives, To devour the poor from off the earth, And the needy from among men.
- Jeremiah 31:29-30 – In those days they shall say no more: ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ But every one shall die for his own iniquity; every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.
- Daniel 7:5 – And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’
The Theological Symbolism of Teeth
In the Bible, teeth often symbolize ferocity, destruction, and judgment. For example, Psalm 3 describes God breaking the “teeth of the ungodly.” This demonstrates that wicked people will ultimately be destroyed and rendered powerless before God. Likewise, Daniel’s vision includes a beast with ribs in its teeth, depicting how it devours and destroys its enemies. Teeth can also represent oppressors that “devour the poor.” But for believers, there is hope that God will deliver them from these threats, even as one narrowly escapes “by the skin of my teeth” (Job 19:20). Overall, passages about teeth remind us of the judgment for sin and God’s just retribution, as well as His protection for the oppressed.
The Role of Teeth in Health, Hygiene, and Appearance
Several verses emphasize the importance of teeth for chewing, speaking, and appearance. For instance, we read that “smoke to the eyes” and “vinegar to the teeth” are irritants that take away enjoyment (Proverbs 10:26). There’s also a reference to “gnashing” or grinding one’s teeth in anger. These highlight how teeth are necessary for nutritious eating, clear speech, and emotive expression. Having damaged, missing, or crooked teeth could hinder these essential functions in life. Thus, it is wise to care for our teeth, getting treatment when needed. Straight, clean teeth are also part of an attractive appearance, which Scripture emphasizes in passages such as Song of Songs 4:2, “Your teeth are like a flock of shorn ewes Which have come up from the washing.” Good dental hygiene demonstrates godliness and stewardship of our bodies for God’s glory.
The Spiritual Importance of Teeth in Relationships
The Bible utilizes teeth symbolically when discussing relationships, both human and divine. In Song of Songs 6:6, the man says of his beloved, “Your teeth are like a flock of ewes.” This poetic metaphor represents the blessing and benefit of teeth for intimate relationship. Elsewhere in Scripture, the Lord warns, “I will dash them one against another, both the fathers and the sons together, declares the LORD. I will not pity or spare or have compassion, that I should not destroy them” (Jeremiah 13:14). Here, God uses the imagery of teeth violently clashing together to describe the painful disintegration of familial relationships due to sin. These passages remind us that teeth play an important role in relationships, even carrying symbolic spiritual meaning related to intimacy and conflict. Our teeth allow us to eat, speak, smile, and kiss, all of which are essential to relationship with others and with God.
Teeth in God’s Judgment and Justice
One prominent theme regarding teeth in the Bible is judgment and justice. For example, the psalmist declares that God “shatters the teeth of the ungodly” and the wicked will “gnash his teeth and melt away” when confronted with God’s judgment for their sin (Psalms 3:7, 112:10). Similarly, the prophet Jeremiah warns that “every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.” This conveys how each person’s sin bears the consequences of God’s judgment. Teeth are also referenced regarding justice, as oppressors are said to “devour the poor” with their razor-sharp “fangs” (Proverbs 30:14). But Scripture promises that God will ultimately destroy the wicked and deliver the righteous from their grasp. So discussions of teeth often accompany passages about divine justice and judgment, reminding us that wrongdoing will incur consequences. As believers, we can be confident that God will make all things right in the end.
Supernatural Interactions Involving Teeth
A few biblical accounts involve miraculous events with teeth. When Daniel emerged unharmed from the lions’ den due to God’s deliverance, Scripture notes that “no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God” (Daniel 6:23). This implies the lions’ teeth were prevented from harming him. In Acts 3, Peter miraculously heals a man who was lame from birth. This astonishes onlookers, who “were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him” when his feet and ankles were instantly strengthened (verses 10-11). Though teeth are not mentioned directly, Scripture’s description of the man “leaping” and “walking and entering the temple” imply his teeth and entire body were restored (verse 8). These miracles with teeth reveal God’s supreme power and care for His people. He can suspend the laws of nature to protect, judge, or heal according to His divine purposes.
Our examination of teeth in the Bible has uncovered valuable insights into God’s design and purpose for this important part of the human body. Though mentions of teeth in Scripture can refer symbolically to ferocity or judgment, they also highlight how teeth allow us to eat, speak, smile, and relate to others and to God. As Christians, we can apply biblical principles to care for our teeth in a way that honors the Creator. With the Holy Spirit’s help, our teeth can glorify God through serving, speaking, relating, and sharing the gospel. By investigating what the Bible says about teeth, we gain inspiration for pursuing godliness in how we use this crucial gift from our Creator. Just as God supernaturally interacts with teeth in Scripture, He still works in and through them today for His glory.
- Teeth in the Bible often symbolize ferocity, destruction, and judgment from God.
- Caring for our teeth demonstrates godliness and stewarding our bodies well.
- Teeth play an important role in relationships, carrying symbolic meaning.
- Passages about teeth remind us of the consequences of sin and God’s justice.
- Accounts of miracles reveal God’s power to supernaturally interact with teeth.
- As Christians, we can use our teeth in a way that honors and serves God.
Now that we’ve covered an overview of teeth in the Bible, let’s explore some specific passages and themes in more depth. There is valuable revelation and application for our own dental health and spiritual lives if we pay attention to what Scripture teaches about teeth. Continue reading for biblical insights on caring for teeth, their role in relationships, and more!
Honoring God Through Proper Dental Hygiene and Care
The Bible emphasizes caring for our bodies as part of our service to God. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and urges, “So honor God with your bodies” (NLT). Part of this involves keeping our teeth clean, healthy, and whole. Ecclesiastes 3:3 declares there is “a time to lose” and “a time to keep,” implying it is wise to preserve what God has given us, including our teeth. Here are some ways we can specifically honor God through good dental hygiene and care of our teeth:
Brush and floss thoroughly each day. Psalm 51:2 says, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin.” Just as David sought spiritual cleansing, we need to clean our teeth from physical debris that can lead to decay and gum disease. Flossing removes plaque between teeth that brushing alone can’t reach. Doing so shows we value the gift of teeth God has provided.
Get regular dental checkups. Proverbs 27:23 counsels, “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds.” To “know” the state of our teeth requires professional exams to check for issues we can’t see. Catching problems early honors God through preventing further damage and embracing His common grace through dentists.
Pursue restoration when teeth are damaged or missing. God created our mouths for nourishment, clear speech, and attractiveness. So when teeth are damaged or missing, seeking solutions like fillings, crowns, or bridges demonstrates good stewardship. Scripture praises wisdom and skill in craftsmanship (Exodus 31:3-5), which modern dentists employ to repair teeth. Doing so honors God’s purpose for our mouths.
Maintain a healthy diet and avoid damaging habits. Daniel “resolved that he would not defile himself” by eating the king’s rich foods (Daniel 1:8). Likewise, we honor God by avoiding junk food and excessive sugar, which harms teeth. We also prevent damage and stains by abstaining from detrimental habits like smoking. As 1 Corinthians 6:19 reminds us, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?” Caring for our teeth recognizes they are part of God’s holy temple in our bodies.
Teeth’s Role in Relationships and Righteous Speech
Having healthy teeth allows us to better serve others through verbal communication and sincere smiles. Our words have the power to build others up or tear them down. That’s why Scripture urges, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29). God calls us to speak truthfully, gently, and graciously, which teeth help facilitate through proper pronunciation and clear articulation. Teeth also enable us to laugh, smile, kiss, and show warmth in gathering with other believers. In these ways, caring for our teeth improves relationships in ways that honor God. Here are some specific tips on stewarding teeth for better communication and closer relationships:
Get needed orthodontic treatment. Crooked teeth or misalignment can hinder speech and eaters. As Proverbs 8:9 counsels, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” Orthodontics like braces or Invisalign demonstrate good stewardship by improving our ability to speak graciously and be better understood.
Repair chipped or damaged teeth. Having broken teeth not only looks unattractive but can impede communication. Since God created our mouths for sharing His Truth, we honor Him by repairing tooth damage. Dental crowns and veneers help strengthen and restore teeth so we can fulfill the calling in 1 Peter 3:15 to “always [be] prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”
Bleach stained or discolored teeth. A bright, attractive smile helps convey the joy of the Lord. But stained teeth can undermine our witness, causing others to focus on our appearance rather than our message. That’s why Proverbs 27:9 says, “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” Whiter teeth look pleasant and allow our speech to shine.
Practice good breath control. Halitosis, or chronic bad breath, negatively impacts relationships. Colossians 4:6 instructs, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt.” Bad breath distracts others from our words. Simple remedies like brushing, flossing, mints, and stay hydrated helps ensure our speech is gracious and effective.
As with all parts of our lives, how we care for our teeth impacts our relationships and Christian witness. By applying biblical principles, our mouths can better spread the sweet aroma of Christ in the world around us.
Teeth in the Judgment of God and Spiritual Warfare
Several passages use teeth to depict divine judgment against sin and spiritual warfare between God and evil. We read how sinners will “gnash their teeth” facing eternal judgment (Matthew 8:12, Luke 13:28). God promises to “dash [children’s teeth] against the stones” in His wrath over sin (Psalm 137:9). These gruesome images convey the ferocity of God’s righteous anger and judgment against evil. In fact, when Christ returns, Scripture says His robes will be stained with blood from “treading the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty” as He tramples the wicked (Revelation 19:13-15). Such passages reminder us to flee sin and reverence God, whose judgment of evil is fiercer than any predatory beast.
At the same time, the Bible depicts Satan as a menacing lion seeking victims to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Yet God promises to destroy those who serve demonic spirits, breaking the teeth of the wicked so they are left “powerless” before Him (Psalm 3:7 NLT). Though spiritual forces of evil attack believers, our hope is found in the truth that “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Through faith, the Spirit equips God’s people to resist the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6:11), crushing Satan under our feet (Romans 16:20). We take refuge in God who delivers us from all enemies, redeeming us from death so we “will not fear, though tens of thousands assail [us] on every side” (Psalm 3:6-7). By understanding the spiritual realities reflected in biblical passages about teeth, we can live boldly and confidently despite whatever “lions” threaten harm.
Teeth Restored Through Divine Healing and Miracles
One final aspect regarding teeth in the Bible is how they feature in miraculous healings and demonstrations of God’s power. When Daniel emerged unscathed from the lions’ den, Scripture implies the beasts’ teeth were divinely prevented from causing harm (Daniel 6:22). In the New Testament, a lame beggar is instantly healed through Peter and John’s ministry. Though teeth go unmentioned, the account strongly suggests his entire body – including teeth – were supernaturally restored to full health (Acts 3:1-10). Most importantly, Jesus performed healings like making the mute speak and healing leprosy by His word alone (Matthew 8:1-4; 12:22). Surely such restorations involved divinely reconstructing teeth and gums that were damaged by disease.
These accounts offer hope that our Creator is able to heal tooth problems and diseases either through natural means or supernatural intervention. While divine healing isn’t guaranteed, we can ask God to graciously provide according to His will. James 5:14-15 instructs believers suffering sickness to call for the elders to pray over them and anoint with oil in Jesus’ name. God may graciously choose to heal tooth decay or gum disease in response to prayer offered in faith. But ultimately, our trust is that in eternity, Christ will grant imperishable, immortal bodies free of all pain and suffering (1 Corinthians 15:52-54). Then He will “wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). What hope and comfort we have knowing our Lord is able to heal teeth supernaturally both now and for all eternity!
After exploring the topic of teeth in the Bible, we gain many helpful insights for caring for our teeth and honoring God with our mouths. Passages about teeth remind us these parts of our body symbolize relationship, communication, nourishment, and judgment before God. We are called to steward our teeth well through maintaining dental health and hygiene as part of reverencing our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. Clean, whole teeth allow us to better serve others relationally and through righteous, gracious speech that builds them up. Accounts of teeth connect with themes of divine judgment and justice against evil, as well as miraculous healings that restore people to wholeness. Most amazingly, the hope of perfect teeth comes through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, who promises imperishable, glorified bodies in eternity. By taking good care of our teeth now, we both honor God with our bodies and demonstrate our trust in His plan to culminate all things in the eternal Kingdom