Saturday, December 4, 2021

Is chewing on ice cubes bad for your teeth?

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Is chewing ice cubes harmful to your teeth? – Gabriela G., 15, Arlington, Virginia.


As a pediatric dentist, I sometimes get questions from parents and patients about ice chewing. They usually want to know why some people like it and if it could damage their teeth.

Chewing or crunching ice can be disturbing for those at the table, but it is calming, especially for those with dry mouth.

It can also help relieve stress or relax. In some cases, people can chew ice to satisfy their hunger because it can mimic the sensation of eating without consuming calories.

For others, chewing ice cubes may be just a habit.

Why is it dangerous

Regardless of the reason, this habit is worth giving up. Chewing ice is bad for your oral health, and if you’re unlucky, it could end up costing you or your parents an expensive trip to the dentist or orthodontist.

Chewing ice can lead to cracks in the enamel, which can lead to hypersensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks.

If you break or break a tooth while chewing on ice, a cavity – a hole – can form in that tooth. This is because acids produced by bacteria can penetrate the softer layer of the tooth, dentin, much more easily and cause decay.

If you already have fillings, crowns or veneers, or if you are wearing braces, retainers or expanders, chewing on ice makes you particularly vulnerable to tooth damage.

Depending on the severity of the problem, repairs may require anything from a simple filling to a root canal – a more serious procedure that requires anesthesia.

How to stop

There are several ways to break this habit.

  1. Melt the cubes in your mouth: Instead of crunching into ice cubes, try holding them in your mouth and letting them melt. The pleasant feeling of coolness and refreshment will last longer. And it won’t hurt your teeth or gums.

  2. Stop eating ice: You can also skip ice altogether. If it is not in your glass, there is no temptation. In addition to preventing tooth damage, you can also avoid bacteria that may remain in icemakers.

  3. Consider softer alternatives: Replacing regular cubes with softer ice, such as shavings, may help. However, try to limit or avoid flavored soft ice because it contains a lot of sugar and is harmful to your teeth.

  4. Eat something healthier: Raw carrots, sliced ​​apples, or other crunchy fruits and vegetables can help. These foods can satisfy cravings for crunching by stimulating saliva production that protects your mouth. The fibrous material also helps to keep your teeth clean.

In some cases, chewing or crunching ice can be the result of iron deficiency – a condition called pagophagia – although the reason for this is not clear.

When none of the above helps someone to stop chewing ice, dietary changes or iron supplementation may be required. You may need to make an appointment with a doctor.

Watch out for your mouth

It is very important to take care of your teeth, especially by the age of 12. By that time, most people had lost all of their baby teeth.

The permanent pearl white color can last for the rest of your life, especially if you brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

And, if you love chewing ice, try the alternatives I suggested to see if they help.


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This article is republished from – The Conversation – Read the – original article.

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