Bruxism-A A +A
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
UNLESS you are a walking dictionary of medical terms, you will never guess the meaning of the word “bruxism” just by the looking at it. I tried; I failed. (Of course, that is one justification why English dictionaries have to exist.)
The root word “brux” is no day-to-day conversational item. And the Greeks can be credited for giving us such a strange word in English, which came from their word “brychein.” It means to them, “to gnash the teeth.”
The Visayan language has its equivalent: “kagot.” By the sound of the spoken word you will get the hair-raising feeling of the sound of gnashing teeth, much like the sensation you feel when listening to a fingernail scratching the chalkboard.
Bruxism is not only fraying to your nerves when you hear it; it is also disturbing to others (not to you) in slumber. Many a-couple have had to sleep in separate rooms because of it. Where no more room is available for each, one has to sleep in the evening and the other in the morning, and disastrously so.
In short, bruxism is a harbinger both of insomnia and teeth deterioration.
Often an outcome of the day’s stressful moments, teeth-grinding wears down teeth over time. Worse, since it happens in the unconsciousness of sleep, the person cannot control it asleep.
Health experts have a two-pronged approach to avoid bruxism. First, handle the stress of the day before sleeping. Second, prevent the teeth-grinding from causing troubles at night.
Stress management involves primarily calming of the mind so that it sets itself for a restful sleep. Sleep doctor Tracey Marks suggests some methods in his book, Master Your Sleep: Proven Methods Simplified (2011). First is deep breathing. Breathe slowly and from the diaphragm, mimicking closely the way you breathe to sleep.
Second is meditation. Breathe rhythmically while repeating a phrase that quiets your mind.
Third is visualization. Imagine the sights, sounds and scents of a peaceful place you have been yearning until your mind calms down and body relaxes.
Last is progressive muscle relaxation. Alternately tense and relax muscles throughout your body, starting with your feet and working your way up to your head muscles.
The teeth-grinding prevention that WebMD editors in the slideshow “19 Habits That Wreck Your Teeth” (2011) proposed is the use of a mouth-guard. Yes, the one that boxers use before facing off in the ring. You can get it in most sports shops or order it customized from your dentist.
In a way of speaking, an interdisciplinary approach in finding a solution to problems usually pays off. Imagine finding a solution for bruxism from boxing! The former wakes others; the latter can make others sleep for good. Well, at least they have the letter “x” in common.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 09, 2013.