Many people love chewing ice. Whether it’s the crunch itself that’s appealing, or maybe it’s just become a habit, chomping on ice can be hard to stop once you start.
But did you know chewing ice can be harmful to your dental health?
Your dental health, of course, is important to us at here at Cigno Family Dental. That’s why we think it’s vital you have the facts on how and why chewing ice is a habit you need to bag—fast.
Two of the biggest risks from chewing ice are damage to your teeth and gums. Especially during the summer months when people seem to be chew more ice, more often, dentists see a lot more broken teeth too!
Although, interestingly, it’s not just that ice is hard that makes chewing it bad for you.
When you chew ice regularly, your teeth get into this cycle of getting warm and then cold, in rapid succession. This makes your enamel contract and expand over and over, too. Quite frequently, this creates little hairline cracks in the surface of the teeth, even if they don’t break. Furthermore, each time you chew ice after that, the cracks get bigger. This can lead to sensitivity, pain, and infection inside the teeth.
Not surprisingly, this same process also damages the enamel permanently as well. This exposes the inner layers of the teeth, creating difficulty chewing anything as the sharp teeth edges wear down over time.
Additionally, if you have fillings, crowns, caps, or a dental prosthesis, there can be even more serious problems with chewing ice. The expansion and contraction we discussed above is even more significant with these synthetic materials. This also makes the potential damage happen more quickly.
But what if it feels like you just can’t give up chewing ice?
First, each time you’re tempted to chomp on even just a few cubes, remember how important it is to protect your dental health. Thus, ending your ice chewing habit is a must.
Instead, consider the following substitutes for chewing ice that are much easier on the teeth:
Try sucking on crushed ice or slivers of ice. These options melt in your mouth like candy and gives a similar satisfaction to chewing ice, but doesn’t carry the same risk.
If it’s the crunch that gets you going, consider chopping up carrots or apples into small pieces, and store them in the fridge. When you’re aching for ice, chew these snacks instead.
Similarly, try freezing grapes and reaching for them to chomp on hot summer days in lieu of ice. The flavor is better but the guilty pleasure s almost the same!
However, it’s important to note if you find it extra-hard to stomp the ice chewing habit, do let your dentist know. An overwhelming desire to chomp ice can be a sign of bigger problems.
As strange as it sounds, some may feel the need to chew ice when they are anemic. There is also a disease called pica where people are drawn to eat or chew on strange things. With pica, the craving is so severe, the person can’t control it until they give in…
There is even a syndrome associated with a desire to chew ice. It’s called “Burning Mouth Syndrome” which is just as it sounds—a feeling of heat or burning in the mouth. Chewing ice helps to squelch this feeling for the sufferer, making it very hard to give up for any length of time.
What if you have already harmed your teeth – your dental health – by chewing ice?
Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to come see us – or your Milwaukee dentist – as soon as you notice the first signs of damage. We will know exactly what you need to take care of the specific problem, as quickly and easily as possible. After all, your dental health is our business and is as important to us as it is to you!