Chewing on Ice Cubes is Dangerous for Your Teeth
Posted on 11/9/2020 by Neil Starr DDS PC
|Many people cannot resist the urge to chew on ice, especially those flaky, crunchy, tasty particles at the bottom of cold drinks. However, you always need to remind yourself about the dangers of chewing on ice when you come down with those cravings, especially when the heat of the summer is overbearing. Chewing on ice can damage your teeth and gums and make you more vulnerable to various oral ailments. We generally encourage our patients to abstain from chewing ice and, instead, to satisfy the cravings for ice with other mouth-friendlier alternatives to ice.
What's Behind your Cravings to Chew on Ice Cubes?
The craving to chew on things that have little or no nutritional value, including ice, chalk, clay, ashes, and paint is a well-documented phenomenon in the medical world known as pica. Since ancient times, people have had these cravings in various parts of the world. Today, chewing on ice is the most widespread form of pica. That is because it can be triggered by a wide range of stressors from heat waves to iron deficiency in anemia patients, dry mouth, withdrawal from cigarettes, certain medication, etc. These causes are yet to be proven conclusively, but most people who have this craving are usually faced with any one of these conditions.
The Dangers of Chewing on Ice
Chewing on ice can gradually wear off your enamel, exposing the more sensitive parts of your teeth to acid attacks, bacterial invasion, and tooth decay. Also, many patients who turn up at our offices with cracked or chipped teeth happened to have been chewing on ice incessantly.
Chewing on ice is also high on our list of don'ts for patients of various dental restorations. Chewing ice can easily break or degrade dental restorations like dentures, braces, bone grafts, dental fillings, etc.
Rather than chomp on shards of ice, try letting them sit and melt inside your mouth. That way, you still enjoy all the cooling effects of the ice without damaging your teeth. You can also try out other alternatives to large shards of ice like shaved ice, sno cones, and slushies. If you are not just after the cooling sensation but also the crunchiness of ice as well, you can try out other mouth-friendlier crunchy foods like carrot sticks, cucumber, apple, etc.
Want more information on dealing with your cravings to chew on ice? You can speak with our qualified dentist today to receive tailored recommendations for improving and safeguarding your oral health.