This blog may break your heart if you’re a chronic ice chewer or even if you only occasionally crunch your way through a refreshing ice cube. Sometimes, those melty chips of frozen goodness soaked in your favorite soda are hard to resist. Whether you do it daily or occasionally, you should aim to stop it altogether because of its adverse effects on your teeth.
Habits are hard to break. But let us help you understand why breaking your ice-chewing habit will benefit your health and save your pearly whites from the bitter embrace of those little icy overlords.
Is Chewing Ice Harmful?
Chewing ice is horrible for your teeth and can lead to various oral health issues, costing you some pricey dental visits and potential damage and pain. You may have disregarded your mom’s request to stop chewing ice as a kid, but your mom was very wise to get on your case about this habit. Whether she couldn’t stand the sound of crunching or she was worried about your teeth, your mom was onto something.
Here are seven reasons why you should stop chewing ice immediately:
1. It Wears Down Enamel
Enamel is kind of a big deal for your teeth. Tooth enamel keeps those pearly whites strong and protected from biting, chewing, grinding, and crunching. Wearing down the enamel leads to tooth damage, sensitivity, and cavities. None of those are fun to deal with.
2. It Can Damage the Gums
The sharp, hard edges of ice can puncture your gum tissue and cause inflamed gums. Our gums always go through a lot with other hard things we eat, but ice will put them over the edge. Don’t put your poor gums through that.
3. It Can Crack the Teeth
A cracked tooth is problematic for so many reasons. Not only is it displeasing to look at, but a cracked tooth means you’ll need a crown or root canal. No thank you, right? The sharp, hard edges of ice tend to crack teeth and cause tiny fractures that develop over time, leading to more significant dental issues. Why chew ice and risk that?
4. It Can Cause Toothaches, Headaches, and Jaw Soreness
Ouch, ouch, and ouch! Breaking through ice with your teeth can put a lot of pressure on your teeth, gums, and jaw. It can lead to headaches and brain freezes. Ice also can easily irritate the soft tissue of your teeth and cause a toothache.
5. It Can Increase Sensitivity
If you already have sensitive teeth, you know how irritating it is to eat ice cream or consume cold or hot liquid. Don’t make them even more sensitive by chewing on freezing ice and damaging the nerves inside your teeth.
6. It Can Lead to More Serious Health Issues
Something else might be happening if you have an urge to chew ice constantly. The urge to chew ice is linked to other health problems, including stress, OCD, developmental disorders, and nutritional deficiencies like anemia.
7. It Can Ruin Fillings
The freezing cold temperature of ice can cause your fillings to expand, which is bad news, Bears. When your fillings expand, their lifespan decreases, which means more costly dental appointments to get them re-done.
Kick Your Habit to the Curb
If it’s been difficult for you to quit your habit of chewing ice, consider seeing your doctor to ensure no underlying issue is causing you to crave ice. If you find yourself chewing ice to cure dry mouth or a tobacco addiction, try cold drinks and popsicles instead.
You may want to opt for unsweetened popsicles to avoid cavities. Homemade fruit popsicles are healthy and delicious. Here’s a sample recipe:
Easy Homemade Fruit Popsicles:
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- ½ cup blackberries
- 1 cup ice
- ¼ cup water
- Wash all the fruit.
- Remove stems from strawberries.
- Add ice, water, and fruit to a blender.
- Blend on the smoothie setting until smooth.
- Pour into an ice pop mold.
- Freeze for 2-4 hours.
If you simply can’t, or won’t, stop chewing ice, then stick to the least damaging kind ‐ yes, those little balls or pellets of ice that are easier to chomp on. And while these are still not good for your teeth, they are smaller and softer than regular ice cubes and may not cause as much damage. As spherical and other forms of non-cubed ice are pretty trendy right now, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding an appropriate mold or pellet machine in your favorite department store.
Now that you know the truth about chewing ice, we urge you to try to make a conscious decision to stop chewing on it; your Utah dentist, your teeth, and your future self will thank you. For regular teeth cleanings and restorative or cosmetic dentistry in Weber County, give us a call!