As the hypnotist slowly waved the toothbrush in front of his subject’s eyes, he said in a monotone: “Your eyes are getting heavy, droopy and drowsy. And when you awaken, you will realize you want to brush your teeth. In fact, you will have an incredible desire to brush your teeth two to three times a day, because your teeth will be happy and your heart will be healthier.”

Yes, it’s true: clean teeth have been strongly linked to a healthy heart. A large study in Scotland involving almost 12,000 people has revealed that persons who rarely or never brushed their teeth were 70 percent more likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular event. Even brushing once a day rather than twice a day was associated with a significant 30 percent increase in the risk of these fatal or nonfatal events.

Prior to this comprehensive study led by Richard Watt, Ph.D., of University College London, it was already well-known that periodontal disease, a chronic inflammatory condition largely caused by poor oral hygiene, has been linked to heart disease.

However, what wasn’t known was just how pervasive and strong a link existed between periodontal disease and heart disease. The reason this is important is because now it is clearly obvious that something as simple as brushing twice a day can have far more benefits than a person realizes. It is reasonable to assume that whether one was poor, a smoker or overweight are important factors in heart health. Those factors (and many others) were accounted for in the study.

Now, can a hypnotist really bend someone to their will and make them brush their teeth?

If you are a parent, you know the answer to this question: No way. Try making your kids brush their teeth. My 11/2-year-old son Thomas can really make some frightening sounds and faces when I bring a toothbrush near his mouth. Sadly, our toddler does not yet understand the concept of bribery, but his mother and I are working on that. We figure we’ll give him a candy bar for each time he brushes his teeth.

In all seriousness, even though hypnosis never has and never will be able to make people do things against their will, it can powerfully help a person to do those things they want to. The book 21st Century Medicine: Clinical Evidence for the Healing Power of the Mind offers an amazing amount of clinical testimony as to the true healing power of hypnosis and related modalities.

When you compare helping someone to be more motivated to brush their teeth to helping someone literally get rid of cancer (which is documented), then it seems very simple — and it is. And yes, hypnosis can work on children, too. They just need to be old enough and it needs to be done by someone other than their parents.

By the way, hypnosis has been shown to help with other things that can cause heart attacks, such as smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes. Are you or someone you know afraid of the dentist? You guessed it, hypnosis can help with that, as well.

The point to this article is profound: Clinical evidence clearly indicates that your health or the health of a loved one can be so easily influenced for the better. Imagine, just brushing your teeth regularly can literally help prevent heart disease.

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