Compulsively craving and chewing ice is also referred to as pagophagia. However, you may not compulsively chew ice but rather enjoy it on occasion. Whether you like to chew ice frequently or just when you have an ice-cold drink in your hand, it’s important to know how this habit can affect your oral health. So is chewing ice bad for your teeth? Let’s find out.
Yes, Chewing Ice Is Terrible for Your Teeth
Unfortunately, chewing ice is terrible for your teeth. Your teeth aren’t meant to crunch on very hard objects or foods such as ice, pencils, or plastic. Even if you do it infrequently, chewing on ice has the potential to damage your teeth in the following ways:
- Chips and cracks. Since ice is hard and cold, it can chip and crack teeth. If you have a tooth that’s already weakened from decay or has an existing dental restoration, chewing ice may chip or break the tooth faster or more severely than if it were healthy.
- Damaged dental work. Existing fillings, dental crowns, or veneers can also be damaged by chewing ice. If you have any kind of dental work, even if it’s a simple filling, chewing ice is never a good idea.
- Worn-down tooth enamel. Chewing ice can also prematurely wear down tooth enamel, which can lead to sensitive teeth and an increased risk for cavities . Your tooth enamel is crucial to your oral health, so protecting it can help protect your smile.
How to Stop Chewing on Ice
Refraining from chewing ice is a simple way to protect your teeth and prevent damage to your smile. But if you’re in the habit of chewing ice, what can you do to stop?
First, know that you don’t have to kick the habit completely. You can try using softer ice, such as slushed ice, to “chew” on. You can also replace the ice with other crunchy things that are healthier for your teeth, such as nuts, crunchy fruits and vegetables, or potentially even sugarless gum if your habit is more about chewing than crunching.
Always talk to your dentist or physician about your chewing ice habit, especially if you do it frequently. Craving ice could be a sign of a deficiency, most notably an iron deficiency, that could be impacting your dental health and overall health .
Do You Chew Ice?
If you chew ice, know that this habit could be damaging your teeth in ways you can’t see. Often, damage such as chips or cracks may not be noticeable at first, but can lead to bigger problems such as tooth infections over time. Talk to your dentist about your chewing ice habit and try different ways to stop so you can protect your smile!