Chewing Ice Leads to Dental Bills

Chewing ice is not recommended by the Carmichael dentists at the Marconi Dental Group.

Marconi Dental Group specializes in saving cracked and damaged teeth. Believe us when we say, however, that you do not want to test our skills in this regard, or those of our other Carmichael dentists, unless it is absolutely necessary. So to avoid this type of dental procedure, avoid chewing ice!

Ice is readily available, whether from our refrigerators or the soda machines at any fast food restaurant or convenience store. The habit slacks off during the winter, but many people drink soda year round and tend to suck or chew on the leftover ice. Both habits can lead to cracked teeth.

Why Chewing Ice is a Bad Habit

Chewing ice strikes a double blow against your teeth and their enamel. First, your body tries to keep your tissues at 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Ice is at 32 degrees, a significant difference. If you have ever poured cold water into a warm glass, you may have seen the potentially disastrous effects of rapidly cooling warm materials. The materials shrink in size and if they cannot stand the stress, they crack or shatter. This can happen to your teeth when chewing or sucking on ice cubes, especially if you have fillings or previously damaged teeth.

The second danger with chewing ice is that you’re taking a hard, rock-like substance and forcing it to break with pressure. Even hammers, axes and other metal tools break under repeated stress, but they are easily replaced. Your teeth can also be replaced, but only with crowns, dental implants or dentures. Is that really the course you want to take to continue an ice chewing habit?

Having Trouble Breaking the Habit?

According to the dental manufacturer Colgate, chewing ice sometimes indicates an iron deficiency in the blood. If you find your habit hard to break, you should investigate this possibility with your medical doctor. Another option is to chew hard, but safe, foods like carrots, apples or the like. Hard candy is not a good substitute, both for the reasons of dental decay and the same issue of stress on the teeth.

If you cannot break the ice chewing habit, we are here for you. Hopefully, we will not be literally “picking up the pieces” in our Carmichael dental office!

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Comments (2)

When I was growing up, my brothers chewed ice what seemed like all the time. I’m so glad I found it a grating habit and never started it too! Why do people who may have an iron deficiency want to chew ice though?

This is a great question. One of more common side effects of anemia is glossitis or inflammation and depapillation of the tongue. It causes soreness of the tongue and chewing ice is very soothing to these individuals. Pica is the term used in medicine that describes craving and chewing substances that have no nutritional value, such as ice, paper, cornstarch, etc.
The other common cause of pica is emotional problems, such as stress. Thank you for your question and I too am glad that you did not pick up the habit.

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