Ice is a very hard substance; chewing on cubed or chipped ice can result in worn enamel, broken teeth, or damage to existing dental repairs. Failure to resist chewing ice may result in a visit to the dentist.
Dental Problems Associated with Chewing Ice
Damage to existing repairs – Teeth that have been previously treated for decay with either an amalgam or composite filling no longer have the integrity of an untreated tooth. Since they are weaker, biting down on hard ice can further damage the strength of the tooth leading to the potential for a broken tooth. When a tooth breaks, there are two choices … a dental crown or removal of the tooth.
Worn enamel – The impact of continuous pressure from chewing ice can lead to the reduction of tooth enamel. Enamel is the protective covering on teeth; once worn away, it not replaceable or renewable – it’s gone for good.
Why do people chew ice?
The need to habitually chew ice is called pagophagia. It falls in the category of habits where people are compelled to chew on things with no nutritional value. Patients suffering from these habits may be dealing with some type of anemia or vitamin deficiency.
People chew ice out of boredom; to alleviate stress; to resolve a dry mouth; or as an alternative for another habit like smoking or overeating.
Addicted to ice? You need to learn to suck on it without chewing. If chewing is your passion, opt for sugar free gum.
Drinking water will help keep your mouth moist. Your dentist can recommend a product that will help resolve a dry mouth.
If ice chewing is habitual, people kick habits often by finding a substitute. Your oral health depends on your ability to quit this habit. Teeth are hard, but not invincible.
Chewing ice can result in damage to your teeth as well as be annoying to the people around you; so seek an alternative and help maintain your oral health by brushing and flossing daily. And visit our office every six months for a dental cleaning and exam.