When you’ve finished off a refreshing beverage, the temptation to start crunching on one of the ice cubes left at the bottom of the glass can be pretty strong, especially on a hot day. But while it might be refreshing in the moment, chewing on ice can mean serious trouble for your smile later on, especially if you’ve made a habit of it. In this post, you’ll learn more about the dental dangers of chewing ice as well as some tips that can help you stay cool without putting your teeth at risk.
What Happens to Your Teeth When You Chew Ice?
Biting down on any hard object, including ice, can wear down and weaken your teeth over time. The more often you chew on ice, the more likely you are to eventually crack and chip your teeth. In some cases, the damage will be fairly minor, but in the worst-case scenario the tooth could be broken enough to warrant a crown or even an extraction.
You’ll notice other problems with your teeth as well. As the enamel wears down, it can cause increased sensitivity to hot and cold. Furthermore, weakened enamel is less resistant to tooth decay and cavities. And if you already have fillings, crowns, and other types of dental work, chewing on ice can be a quick way to break them. All of these issues can grow worse as ice-chewing continues.
How Can You Stop the Ice Chewing Habit?
First of all, get a physical checkup to see if you’re suffering from a health issue that’s causing you to crave ice, such as anemia. In general, chewing on ice is associated with an iron deficiency. Having such issues properly treated can dramatically decrease the urge to bite down on cubes.
There are other things you can do to make it easier to stop chewing ice:
- Simply let the ice melt in your mouth slowly so that you get the refreshing chill without putting undue stress on the teeth.
- Try asking for drinks without ice, or substitute a softer option such as shaved ice.
- Chew on carrot sticks, cucumbers, apple slices, and other similarly crisp foods that can give you a satisfying crunch without hurting the teeth. (In fact, crunchy fruits and vegetables actively benefit the enamel because they scrub the service of the teeth while you chew and stimulate the production of cleansing saliva.)
Quitting the ice chewing habit can be challenging, but you’ll be glad you did several years from now when your teeth are still healthy and intact. If you need some help in giving up ice chewing for good, talk to your dentist about some potential strategies that you can try.
About the Practice
Bethel Dental provides personalized services for patients of all ages. We know that keeping you comfortable is just as important as the quality of the treatment you receive. The experts on our team are skilled at identifying and treating potential dental problems before they irreparably harm the teeth. If you’re concerned about the impact chewing on ice is having on your smile, contact our office today.