Is Chewing Ice Bad for Your Teeth?

Posted on December 1, 2021

Chewing ice is a very common habit that isn’t impossible to break. Some people do this mindlessly after finishing a drink, while others do it to cool off in the summer heat. Although ice is simply frozen water with zero sugar, chewing it can still cause severe damage to your tooth enamel.

Why chewing ice can be dangerous

Breaking or chipping a tooth isn’t the only outcome of chewing ice. Often times, people will crack their tooth enamel without knowing it. This can lead to hot and cold sensitives, tooth pain, and ultimately a trip to see the dentist. Other results that can come from this are:

  1. Cracked filling
  2. Damaged Crown or Cap
  3. Broken Veneers
  4. Brackets falling off or broken wires for people who wear braces

The price tag that comes along with fixing some of these issues can add up to be quite pricey over time. Something as simple as filling a cavity may be the solution, but other times root canals and crown replacements are necessary to repair the damage done. Although there are much worse habits to have, as your local orthodontist we recommend breaking this as soon as you can! If you’re wearing braces or Invisalign, ice chewing can cause severe damage to brackets, wires, and aligner trays resulting in extra visits to our office. It is best if you can break this habit before pursuing orthodontic treatment. At Cardinal Orthodontics, we’re here to help you achieve a beautiful and healthy smile.

Ways to break the habit of chewing ice

The best way to wean yourself away from ice chewing is by introducing some alternatives.

  • Shaved Ice
  • Slushies
  • Small ice (sonic ice)

You can also begin by letting the ice melt in your mouth, teaching yourself to resist the urge to bite down. If the crunch is what you’re after though, try switching to something like celery or carrot sticks when you find yourself wanting to chew on some ice.

Pagophagia

Did you know that the intense craving to chew on ice is sometimes categorized as pagophagia? This is due to a nutritional deficiency. Not everyone who loves chewing ice has pagophagia, but studies show that  many people who have this desire have an underlying health issue that has not yet been resolved. Other symptoms typically accompany pagophagia, such as: dry, pale skin, headache, fatigue and dizziness. Many of these are tied to having an iron deficiency, although it is best to check with your doctor if your symptoms worsen or you suspect you have pagophagia.

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