I’ve always thought I’d make a smashing doctor (she harks at the gales of laughter from her sister in Europe). Having never suffered from any major ailments, all I tend to do is drink more water, go to bed early or let any minor ‘lergies just blow over. This has served me well for years and is occasionally annoying to those around who try to harry me to the doctor, or pop a pill. When suffering from the flu earlier this year, my sister got on the phone to harangue: “What are you waiting for, the crisis?” she cried. “Shall we cover the footpaths outside your house in black wadding? Bleed you with leeches? Say the last rites??!” I told her that like all things, it would pass, and it did. Without medical intervention.
However for a while I’ve been suffering from something that I recently discovered is called Bruxism. What the? Is it a too-low forehead? A tic on the face of my conjoined Siamese twin? A particularly brutal case of haemorrhoids? Although it sounds like all these things and worse, it’s actually teeth grinding.
This freakish word comes from the new Latin bruxis, a gnashing, and from the Greek brukein, to gnash. The verb is to brux. It can lead to headaches, jaw cramps, sore throats, worn-down teeth and even exacerbate things like gingivitis. The Internerd is forthcoming on many medieval-sounding devices and clamps to insert in your mouth at night, and prevent you from sleeping for the rest of your life. However my travels led me to this little beauty, completely devoid of medical research and studies, but right up my alley. In it, he acknowledges that Bruxism could be a result of many contributing factors, including stress, the side-effects of some drugs and trauma. However despite much speculation on its cause by many learned people, there is no proof of what causes Bruxism at all.
He than goes on to suggest that Magnesium supplements are not a bad way of dealing with the problem. Something to do with Magnesium-deficient pigs and helping normal nerve and muscle function. What ho! Off I went to the chemist. When there I discovered from Lovey, the pharmacist, that she considers Magnesium to be a ‘miracle cure’. She had been taking it for muscle cramps, and pops two at night. If she’s feeling ‘a bit anxious’ during the day she pops one as well and she’s relaxed in a jiffy. I modestly told her that I am a champion bruxer. We put two-and-two together, and realised that its muscle-relaxing properties probably relax the jaw as well.
After two supplements, I’m as happy as a clam. Phooey to the dentist who tried to sell me a $450 tooth guard!! Also the doctor who referred me to a throat specialist!
Medical fraternity: zero
Name of pharmacist: priceless