Imagine sitting outside on a hot summer day. Hoping to cool off, you reach for cup full of ice cubes to chew on. Sounds refreshingly innocent, right? Well, not really. It turns out, chewing ice is not so great for your teeth, which is why the ADA recommends avoiding persistent ice chewing; specifically, to avoid tooth injuries and other oral problems.
It’s true, chewing ice comes with risks and often leads to an increase of dental patients during summer months. Some of these dangers include: cracked or chipped teeth, problems with existing dental work (like fillings or crowns), gum injuries and tooth enamel damage. It’s also common to find that your teeth become more sensitive to hot or cold temperatures after chewing ice excessively. If you are experiencing any of these issues, please book an appointment with your dentist immediately.
So what’s an ice chewer to do? Instead, try letting ice dissolve in your mouth rather than chewing. Once and a while, a slushy drink or semi-melted ice slivers (instead of cubes) can also suffice. You could also try eating cold carrots or apples if you are looking for a similar type of crunchy refreshment.
Another noteworthy point is for anyone who thinks they may have an ice chewing habit. If you feel this is something you cannot stop on your own, you should make an appointment with your primary care doctor. Sometimes, this can be associated with iron deficiency anemia.
Want to learn more about ice chewing and other foods that can damage your teeth? Check out this article by the ADA to start protecting your teeth.