Ice, ice, baby: Here’s why you shouldn’t snack on frozen water

  • Posted on: Nov 30 2017

If you are a fan of ordering a nice, cold drink and then chomping away on the ice that comes with it, you aren’t alone. I know many New Yorkers who find this habit to be a crunchy and refreshing pastime, and actress Renée Zellweger has even admitted to snacking on ice cubes throughout the day. Unfortunately, chewing on ice is not so nice for your teeth. Here are a few reasons dentists, including myself, recommend that you kick the habit to the curb.

It can hurt your enamel …

Popping the occasional ice cube in your mouth isn’t going to instantly do damage, but over time, snacking on this hard substance can wear down your enamel, one of the strongest components of your body. Sadly, once you lose your enamel, there is no fix to get it back. When it disappears, it is gone for good.

… or cause chips and cracks

I can usually detect chronic ice chewers during dental exams thanks to the small chips and fractures the habit leaves behind on their teeth. That’s because frozen water is a pretty tough substance, especially when applied with pressure between your upper and lower jaws. While you might not notice them without an up-close examination, these cracks can worsen with time and even lead to problems that require severe measures like root canals or extractions.

It can hurt your gums, too

When ice breaks, it can be pretty sharp, and you might notice that shards hit your gums from time to time. If a puncture is significant enough, an infection in your gums could follow, and that can be both painful and frustrating.

If you find that it is hard to stop chewing on ice, there are some different things you can try to break the habit. For example, instead of biting into cubes, consider letting the ice melt in your mouth. Additionally, you can try chewing sugar-free gum or drinking water to replace your mouth’s damaging activity.

If you still find yourself longing for ice, you might also be ignoring a larger issue. Anemia is condition particularly common among pregnant individuals that sometimes is noted by these cravings. It can often be resolved with iron supplements. Some people find that chewing ice combats stress and anxiety or satisfies obsessive compulsive thinking, but continuing the habit will only mask the problem at hand. Others view consuming ice as a way of staying hydrated or as an alternative to eating solid meals. It is not a healthy strategy for weight loss, however.

If you are worried about the status of your teeth, don’t hesitate to reach out for an exam. We are always happy to discuss your personal situation and find a solution to get you a healthy mouth. We can be reached at 800.583.9285 or by filling out the contact form on our website.

Posted in: Root Canals