Chewing ice is a common habit that can be seriously harmful to your oral health. Read on to learn why chewing ice is bad for your teeth and gums, and find out how to kick the habit.
Why Chewing Ice is Harmful to Your Teeth
Ice is harmful to your teeth and gums because of both its temperature and its hardness. Ice is hard enough to cause teeth to chip or even break, and it can also damage restorative dental work such as fillings and braces. The extreme temperature change that happens in your mouth when you chew ice causes your enamel, the protective outer layer of your teeth, to expand and contract. This process wears down your enamel and weakens your teeth, causing them to crack. Weakened enamel can also lead to heightened tooth sensitivity and make your teeth more vulnerable to infection and decay. Finally, the extreme coldness of chewing ice has a numbing effect, which might mask serious gum issues or injuries.
Tips to Stop Chewing Ice
There are several methods you can try out to eliminate your ice chewing habit. First, it is important to figure out why you have the craving to chew ice, as chewing ice has been linked to certain health conditions such as iron deficiency anemia and pica. You should talk to your doctor if you are worried that you might have one of these conditions.
But if you chew ice because you simply enjoy the crunch or the coldness, there are options for replacing ice with something that is less damaging to your teeth. If you still want something crunchy, you can try chewing foods like carrot sticks or apple slices. If you enjoy the coldness, you can let the ice melt on your tongue without chewing it, drink cold drinks without ice or through a straw, or try chewing crushed or shaved ice instead of ice cubes. If you have a habit of chewing ice, our team can help you understand the consequences and find a way to stop – contact us to learn more.