Chewing on ice seems like an innocent habit, but it has the potential to cause serious harm to your teeth. There’s a good chance you’ve heard your dentist tell you not to chew on ice, but most people dismiss this recommendation. If you’re one of those people, you’re putting yourself at risk.
Ice is Hard
One of the biggest problems with ice is that it is so hard. Have you ever noticed how much force you have to use to crush it? That isn’t good for your teeth.
High pressure, like you use to chew ice, can wear down the enamel. Over time, this can lead to serious complications.
Another problem is that chewing ice causes the temperature in your mouth to vary drastically. It swings from hot to cold to hot to cold and back again.
When you expose your teeth to wildly varying temperatures, you run the risk of causing cracks in your enamel. Trust me, it’s about as fun as it sounds.
There is also the risk of nerve shock. If this happens to you, you may have to undergo a root canal, which is well-known as an extremely painful procedure.
If you have a filling, the consequences may be more immediate. The hot and cold temperatures may cause the fillings to expand in an unnatural manner and wear them down quicker than they would normally.
Ice Can Be Sharp
Another issue is that ice can shatter in a manner that is similar to glass. This may lead to sharp fragments stabbing and poking your teeth. Eventually, you could end up with cut, swollen or infected gums.
Since the ice is often times shaped in an unusual manner, it cause you to bite down with an abnormal motion. Couple this with the hardness of ice, and you have a recipe for a chipped tooth.
The Problem Can Go Unnoticed
The worst part is that you may already be experiencing issues related to chewing ice without even realizing it. Small stress fractures in teeth can go unnoticed.
Eventually, however, they will grow. Once it advances to tooth failure or fragmentation, there will be no way to ignore it.
Don’t Chew Ice
It’s really best that you avoid chewing ice. If you feel like you must chew something, switch to sugarless gum. You may also want to speak with a doctor about your habit. Sometimes, the urge to chew ice, or other items that lack nutrients, can be indicative of a larger issue.