September 2, 2005 | David F. Coppedge

How Proteins Build Teeth Like Glass on a Mattress

Here’s something to chew on.  Tooth enamel is hard, like crystal, but is bound to dentin underneath, which is pliable, like a mattress.  Your teeth can last a lifetime only because the ceramic-like enamel is cemented to a foundation of softer dentin, and because both of these materials are built to the right hardness specs so that the glass on the mattress doesn’t shatter or come loose.  The construction of teeth is assisted by an unusual pair of proteins that are coded by a single gene, reports EurekAlert on work by USC dental researchers.
    The gene for dentin sialophosphoprotein is expressed into a single protein, which is subsequently split into two: dentin sialoprotein (DSP) and dentin phosphoprotein (DPP).  DSP goes to work in dentin to help build the very important interface with enamel; DPP makes sure it is the right hardness.  The two proteins work in a coordinated way to ensure the tooth is not too brittle or too chalky.  “The fine balance between DSP and DPP highlights the delicacy of the critical dentin-enamel junction,” the article states.  “Dental researchers sometimes liken dentin and enamel to a bed mattress and a glass plate, respectively, [Michael] Paine [lead author] said, with the difference that the supple dentin-enamel junction prevents the enamel from shattering over an individual’s lifetime of chewing and grinding.”  (Emphasis added.)

Something as simple as a tooth is really a marvel when you consider how it is put together.  It’s amazing to find a dual-purpose gene, for one thing.  The cellular transcription machinery has to know that this particular protein needs to be cleaved into two parts at the right time, and at the right point in the chain.  Then, these paired proteins must work together in a delicate, choreographed balance, like a brickmason and inspector, to be sure the critical junction between dentin and enamel comes out just right without breaking, like glass on a mattress.  How could that evolve?
    When you think of how long teeth can last with good care (barring disease or trauma), they are truly wonders of engineering.  Not only that, their shapes are just right for their functions (incisors, bicuspids, molars), and the uppers and lowers fit together.  In a very real sense, your mouth contains a set of high-tech grinding tools.  On top of everything else, they’re pretty.  Smile! the photographers say, asking us to pronounce whiskey or some other word to get the teeth to show for the camera; those “thirty white horses on a red hill,” as Bilbo’s riddle described them in The Hobbit.  Clean, white, straight teeth are more handsome than stallions, more dazzling than a string of pearls.  Made of the hardest substance in biology, they are arguably the most important and valuable crystals in the world.  What would you rather have: a set of diamonds, or a set of good teeth?
    Evolutionists usually only talk about teeth in the coarsest sense – how they evolved from one animal to another, or how they might suggest some mythical transitional form.  You almost never hear them attempting to explain the details – such as how this important gene and the two coordinated proteins it produces came into existence by chance.*  Bad philosophy leads to truth decay.  It’s time for sensible people to help floss away the accumulated plaque of evolutionary speculation that does nothing but cause flapping gums and intellectual halitosis.
    Many Darwinists are also ingrates.  They like to complain about wisdom teeth, calling them vestigial or poorly designed,* but rarely do they express thanks for the ability to chew that delicious steak or salad on the plate in front of them.  To whom would they give thanks, anyway?  That’s why Paul wrote that God’s wrath is against those who see His wisdom and power in the things that are made, yet are not thankful (Romans 1:21).
    If you are celebrating Labor Day with a barbecue or special meal, take a moment to thank God for your teeth.  Another way to express gratitude is to take good care of your tools and jewelry.

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Categories: Human Body

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