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Ice-Chewing Teeth Troubles: The Chilling Truth About Chewing Ice

May 16, 2023Orthodontic Treatment, Pediatric Dentistry

ice cubes and mint in a cup

From nail biting to chomping on ice, we get it – sometimes, people develop habits that are hard to break (especially those linked to anxiety or nerves). But sometimes seemingly harmless habits can actually spell disaster for oral appliances, existing dental work, and oral health issues!

Are you tempted to crunch down on the ice at the bottom of your ice water or lemonade? Chewing ice (and eating other types of hot and cold foods) can be soothing, relaxing, or calming for people. Knowing this, it’s no surprise that chewing on ice is a common habit, and many people can actually crave ice to chew on.

Does It Hurt Teeth When You Chew Ice?

Before you give in to the temptation to chew ice, let’s dive into the big question: is chewing ice bad for your teeth?

We’ve got bad news. It is. Chipped teeth, weakened tooth enamel, and other damage are just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s find out a little more about how constantly chewing ice can lead to an expensive trip to your dentist.

Why is Chewing on Ice So Common?

The urge to chew on ice isn’t simply a bad habit – there’s actually a great reason why so many people enjoy it! When you chew on an ice cube, it can actually be a sign of other underlying issues, like iron deficiency anemia, dry mouth, or pica.

In addition, chewing cold and frozen items actually increases blood flow to the brain – this has a calming effect, which means that chewing regular cubes can actually make you feel better!

Why is Ice Bad for Your Teeth?

Teeth are incredibly strong, but they’re not invincible. When you chew on ice, you’re pitting your teeth against a very hard substance, and tooth enamel fractures easily when chewing hard substances. The cold temperature and brittle nature of ice can damage teeth, leading to small fractures, chips, or worse.

While routinely chewing on ice cubes can actually be a chronic issue – also called pagophagia – it only takes one or two bad chomps on whole ice cubes or hard foods to do tooth damage.

cubes in ice water with limes

Problems with Fillings and Crowns

If you have fillings or crowns from tooth decay or root canals, chewing ice can be especially hazardous. The intense pressure from biting down on ice can damage dental restorations more easily than enamel, resulting in an emergency dental visit or repair work!

Issues with Braces & Oral Appliances

For those sporting braces, ice-chewing is a big no-no. Chewing ice can bend or break the wires and brackets, leading to unplanned orthodontic visits, prolonged treatment time, and added costs.

Just like apple slices, candy, corn, and crisp fruits, you should seriously avoid this habit while undergoing orthodontic treatment.

So, What’s the Cool Alternative?

Now that you know the chilling truth about chewing ice and its impact on your dental health, it’s time to explore some cool alternatives. If you crave that satisfying crunch, try munching on carrot sticks, cucumber slices, or apple wedges (unless you have braces). Shaved ice or other cold (but soft) snacks could also curb your habit!

In conclusion, while it may seem like a harmless habit, chewing ice can lead to a frosty fallout for your teeth and overall oral health. By opting for safer alternatives to your ice-chewing habit, you can take better care of your teeth and avoid unnecessary damage to your enamel!


Positive Communication

Choose a children’s dental practice near you where you and your child feel comfortable. You want good, effective communication and education. Look for a pediatric dentist who takes the time to explain procedures in a child-friendly manner, addressing any concerns or questions your child may have. 

Children dentistry and orthodontics

Final Thoughts on Finding a Pediatric Dentist Near You

Friendly staff and dentists who are skilled in interacting with children can help alleviate anxiety and create a positive dental experience for you and your child. Have a conversation with the staff when you call or ask to have a quick conversation with one of the pediatric dentists before you make an appointment.

Or, if you go and something does not fit about the experience– the service, the location near you, the atmosphere– then switch to a different dentist for your kids.

By prioritizing your child’s comfort, communication, and comprehensive care, you can ensure that they receive the best possible dental experience and lay the foundation for a lifetime of oral health.