Not So Strange

By Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher

While we like to think we know a lot, there is still a lot we don't know. Some of what may sound outlandish and unbelievable can seem logical once the evidence is known. But in the end, we have to decide what we will and won't believe, pure and simple.

When you were a very young child, your mother helped you to brush your first teeth. When you were old enough to ask why, she probably told you one or more of the following: "To keep your teeth and gums healthy, "For a brighter, whiter smile," "So your teeth don't rot out of your head" (my mother's answer) or "It makes your breath smell better." While you grew up knowing it was healthy to brush your teeth, you probably never heard, "So you won't have a heart attack." Would that have sounded strange?

Consider a new study that suggests not brushing your teeth twice a day increases your risk of a cardiovascular event by as much as 70 percent.1 It seems that brushing your teeth twice a day reduces inflammation in your mouth; inflammation that can have a negative impact on your cardiovascular system.

I recently had the opportunity to talk to a man who works for a company that makes security equipment. The equipment "smells" luggage and other objects to determine if there are explosive materials inside. His company is now moving into health care with a machine that will "smell" your breath and determine if you have lung cancer.

Does that sound strange? It did to me, but they have already conducted one test that demonstrated over 90 percent effectiveness, even for very small amounts of cancer. The device is currently involved in clinical trials in a New York hospital. Someday, not so long from now, we may all be breathing into a tube as a normal part of a physical examination. It's amazing what can be developed with a large research and development budget.

As mentioned in a previous report of my findings, the cost of health care in the U.S. is more than $4,000 per person per year,2 by far the most expensive in the world, accounting for over 15 percent of our gross domestic product.3 The solution may be found in applying traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to our current health care system.

Would that be strange? Perhaps. But not according to Wang Guoqiang, the vice minister of health for the People's Republic of China. In a recent speech, Minister Guoqiang made the comment that China's cost for health care is only about 3 percent of the country's gross domestic product, one-fifth of what it costs in the U.S. And while TCM lacks typical Western research, Minister Guoqiang made it clear that it has thousands of years of anecdotal evidence to support its results.

Sound familiar? There has been considerable concern over the fact that there is not nearly enough research regarding the vertebral subluxation complex and how it impacts the body: What is a subluxation? How do we prove it exists? How do we demonstrate that it has an impact on our health? But like the Chinese, we have over a hundred years of anecdotal evidence involving millions of patients. Every doctor of chiropractic has seen their chiropractic adjustments impact health beyond musculoskeletal complaints. We haven't historically benefited from large research funding, but there is now considerably more research that has the potential to demonstrate how the elimination of subluxations can have a positive impact on health. Imagine what we will discover in the next decade or two.

So, why is it so hard to believe that lack of proper function in our spines can impact more than muscles and joints? Given that good oral hygiene could positively impact your heart, why should it sound strange that good spinal hygiene could also positively impact health?


  1. de Oliveira C, Watt R, Hamer M. Toothbrushing, inflammation, and risk of cardiovascular disease: results from the Scottish Health Survey. BMJ, 2010;340:c2451.
  2. The U.S. Health Care System: Best in the World or Just the Most Expensive? Bureau of Labor Education, University of Maine, Summer 2001.
  3. Health Care Spending as % GDP.

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