There are many everyday habits that may seem perfectly harmless, but in fact can actually cause damage to your overall oral health. Chewing ice is one of those routine habits that can cause some major dental problems. Understanding the potential harmful effects may keep you from biting down on an ice cube and save you from unnecessary dental problems.
Chewing Ice & Tooth Damage
Chewing ice can cause microscopic fractures in enamel that can become larger and even broken teeth. Your teeth are made of enamel and dentin. The enamel is the hard surface that is exposed and covers the dentin underneath that is not as hard. Chewing on ice can wear down and weaken the enamel of your teeth, which can cause cracking. If the enamel is cracked and dentin is exposed, your teeth can become weakened and sensitive because within the dentin is the nerve of the tooth. This could also lead to increase sensitivity to hot and cold and make your teeth more vulnerable to decay.
In addition to the harmful effects to the teeth, you run the risk of damaging your dental work. Fillings, crowns and other previous dental work may weaken the tooth and cause it to chip more easily. This could lead to further and more extensive dental work needed and even more time in the dental chair. You’ve spent the time and money to make your smile healthy, you will want to lessen any danger of harming your beautiful smile.|
Gum Damage From Chewing Ice
The pieces of ice can become sharp as they are broken down in your mouth. This causes potential cuts on the soft tissues inside your mouth. Constantly chewing on ice and pressing down on the gums could cause injury to your gums and potentially lead to gum recession. Chewing sugar-free gum may help fight the urge of chewing and lessen the risk of puncturing your gums and causing serious damage.
Underlying Medical Concerns
The desire to chew ice cubes may be due to underlying medical conditions. Studies have shown that people with the iron deficiency anemia, nutritional deficiencies, obsessive compulsive disorder, emotional and developmental disorders may be more likely to chew on ice. If you have the consistent urge to chew on ice, it is a good idea to seek medical attention and rule out any underlying health issues.