Many patients may mindlessly chew ice when they finish a refreshing drink, which isn’t too uncommon. It becomes a problem when you chew ice as a habit. People chew on ice for many reasons, whether it’s to enjoy a nice cool summer treat, relieve boredom, relieve stress, or cut back calories. Although it seems harmless, chewing on ice is very damaging to your teeth for several reasons.
Before you get a cup of ice to start munching on, consider what affects this habit is having on your smile.
Chewing ice may wear down your enamel.
Chewing on ice slowly wears down the protective layer of your teeth. The more it wears down, the more likely you are to have tooth damage, tooth sensitivity, cavities, and other dental issues.
Crunching ice may damage your fillings.
Putting freezing-cold ice into your mouth causes fillings to expand. When fillings expand, they won’t last as long. You may end up having to visit your dentist more often to replace fillings.
Ice can wreak havoc on your soft tissues.
Ice is hard and sharp, so it can easily puncture and damage the soft gum tissues in your mouth. Your gums do so much for your oral health and have to face enough issues with normal dental bacteria and foods. Protect them by avoiding chewing ice.
Chewing ice can crack your teeth.
Sharp edges on ice have also been known to crack teeth. When you bite down on ice, you put a lot of pressure on small areas in your mouth, and sometimes your mouth cannot bare the load. A lot of times, small, unnoticeable fractures develop over time from repeated ice chewing, and eventually a large fracture results. To fix large fractures, you will need crowns and sometimes root canals.
Ice can cause your teeth to become sensitive.
Constantly exposing your teeth to extreme temperature changes with chewing on ice is damaging to the nerves inside your teeth. Chewing on ice increases tooth sensitivity. If you already have a problem with sensitivity, you’re making the problem worse by chewing ice.
Munching on ice can cause headaches, toothaches, and jaw soreness.
Chewing on ice can also create other problems for the rest of your body. Moving your jaw to bite down and grind on hard cold ice can cause you to get a headache, develop soreness in your jaw, or even develop a TMJ disorder. Consider the fact that if you irritate the soft tissues in your teeth, you can get a toothache.
Chewing ice could be feeding into other health concerns.
Why do people have the urge to chew ice? The most common health concern associated with chewing ice is anemia. Researchers believe that the need to chew ice stems from them wanting something cool to soothe oral inflammation that arises from iron deficiency anemia.
It could also make people with anemia feel more alert, because being cold pushes better-oxygenated blood up to the brain and creates an anti-inflammatory effect on the mouth that results from iron deficiency.
If you find yourself constantly chewing on ice, it may be time to reach out to your dentist to check on the health of your teeth. It may also be best to reach out to your health practitioner so that you can get help with your potential iron deficiency.
Meet the Dental Group
For patients in the Toledo area, Dental Group West is dedicated to providing a range of dental services, including restorative dentistry for patients who just can’t stop chewing ice. When you have damage to your teeth or dental work, reach out to us by calling (419) 469-1744.