Can Chewing on Ice Damage Your Teeth

For some people, their drink isn’t finished until they have finished all of the liquid and crunched all of the ice up with their teeth. Some people chew ice out a force of habit, while others simply find it soothing and cooling during hot weather. While chewing ice might be especially satisfying on a hot summer day, it is also can damage your teeth.

Your teeth might perfectly capable of crushing ice cubes, but keep in mind they were actually meant to chomp things like vegetables and grains otherwise it can damage your teeth. So your teeth are really for chewing through things, not crushing things that are nearly as hard as them. Another point to consider comes from Richard Price DMD, a retired dentist who now works as a consumer advisor and spokesperson for the American Dental Association. “Your blender needs special blades to crush ice,” says Price.

Crunching Ice Will Damage Your Teeth

The combination of the coldness and hardness of ice is what makes crunching ice damage your teeth. The ice will wear down tooth enamel more quickly, making your teeth more vulnerable to decay. So while you might think chewing on ice is not as harmful as sipping a sugary soda, in truth it could be much worse for you. Beyond wearing down enamel, ice chewing can also cause chipped teeth and cracked teeth. You might even be doing damage that you can’t see.

Skilled Dentist to Detect Microfractures in NY

Microfractures are tiny cracks in teeth or bone that are not obvious on the surface. It takes the skill and expertise of a dentist to detect microfractures in your teeth. If the outer part of your tooth suffers from microfractures, chewing even softer foods than ice will cause the tiny cracks to move just a little bit and damage your teeth even more. Depending on the severity of the factures, the sensitive pulp inside your tooth could be affected, leading to very painful chewing. Drinking hot or very cold beverages might also cause pain. The problem with microfractures is that while a skilled dentist might be able to spot it, they’re very difficult to detect, even in x-rays.

Restorative Dental Work and Chewing on Ice

If you have restorative dental work such as crowns or porcelain veneers, small cracks might be even more difficult to detect, because they might be hiding under the restorative work. Ice chewing can also damage your teeth or dental crowns and veneers as well, by cracking them or causing them to shear off of the surface of the tooth. It seems silly to pay for restorative dental work only to destroy it with frozen water!

For most people, chewing ice is comforting habit that might not be too difficult to give up. But if you chew ice obsessively, you might have a form of pica known as pagophagia. It is thought that pagophagia is a possible symptom of iron-deficiency anemia. If you find that you cannot give up chewing ice (or paper or clay—these are other forms of pica associated with iron-deficiency anemia) talk to your doctor right away and ask to have your red blood cell count to be checked.

Midtown Dental Care

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