Is Chewing Ice Bad for Your Teeth?

Ice-chew“A habit is a shirt made up of iron”, it’s hard to take it off. A common bad habit is chewing on ice.   If you often find yourself chewing ice, you can rest easy that you are not alone.  Some people do it compulsively when enjoying a drink, while others may crave it.  In more extreme circumstances, it can be linked to iron deficiency anemia.

“If you are in the habit of chewing ice you should waste no time in speaking to a dentist as it may be due to iron deficiency anemia,” said Dr. Roach a dentist in Roanoke VA. Whatever the reason for the habit, most dentists agree that chewing on ice is dangerous and can lead to serious consequences. Chewing ice may be fun but it can be very risky and is not worth it. In this article we’ll discuss where ice chewing comes from, its risks, and potential solutions.

Why Do People Crave To Chew On Ice?

Iron deficiency often leads to inflammation in the muscles. People suffering from iron deficiency might have inflamed gums and chewing on ice may help with the inflammation.  Studies have also linked ice eating in people with anemia to increased brain function.  Whatever the reason, anemia is linked to excessive ice eating.

According to a study, the craving to chew on ice is the same as a cup of coffee for a caffeine addict. Both are hard to stop, and yet both can lead to catastrophic consequences.

How Is Chewing Ice Bad For Teeth?

Ice cubes are rigid and do not break easily. Applying too much pressure can cause your teeth to break or chip. The risk increases if you have a crown as they can chip even more easily.

Moreover, constant chewing on ice numbs the nerves in the mouth and you don’t feel the pain. Therefore, you may continue to chew on ice without feeling much pain, thus worsening the situation.

If you munch on ice for too long you may face the following consequences:

  • Tooth Enamel Damage:

    While our tooth enamel is one of the hardest tissues in the body, it is not invincible. A cold object such as ice can numb and weaken it. Since it acts as a protective coating for our teeth against cracks and fractures, once it is weakened, our teeth become more prone to damage.

  • Cracking/Chipping Of Tooth:

    A weakened enamel increases your risk for cavities, infections, and dental diseases. The risk of cracks and serious physical damage also goes up, including the risk of losing a tooth completely.

  • Previous Dental Treatments Are Wasted (Crowns and Fillings):

    Chewing ice can damage crowns and fillings as well.

  • Gum Injuries:

    Ice can be bad for the gums. The sharp edge of the cube might tear the gum and cause an injury. The same can happen with the tongue.

How To Get Rid Of an Ice Chewing Habit?

“You should visit a dentist if you are in the habit of chewing on ice,” suggests Dr. May Yeap of Signature Dental in Frisco, TX. “You should visit a dentist even if the habit hasn’t caused you any dental trouble,” she continues.

Not many patients understand this, but the problem can be solved with the right supplements.  Restoring the level of iron in your blood to a healthy state is a common problem with a simple solution. You can also use tricks such as turning to unsweetened popsicles to satisfy and reduce your chewing craving over time.

It may be a while before you completely get rid of the habit but being patient and persistent will give you good results.

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