For some people, chewing ice is an enjoyable activity that helps them fight the urge to snack. Many individuals find the coolness and crunch of the ice satisfying, but it’s a habit that can have notable consequences for your oral health. It can be tempting to seek any way to help us keep cool, especially ones that don’t impact our beach body. Dentistry of Miami is here to help you understand the potentially severe consequences of chewing ice.
How Chewing Ice May Damage Your Oral Health
Eating ice is such a well-known phenomenon that it even has a medical term: pagophagia. For some people, chewing ice is more than a bad habit; it’s a potential warning sign of a psychiatric condition known as pica. This condition leads those suffering from it to consume large quantities of non-food substances compulsively. These can include mud, hair, dirt, and ice. The compulsion to chew ice can also be a sign of malnutrition.
When it comes to your teeth, chewing ice comes with the following risks:
- Damage To The Enamel – Ice is a hard and rigid material. Chewing it regularly can increase the wear and tear on your enamel. This material cannot regenerate after being broken, chipped, or otherwise harmed.
- Increased Risk of Tooth Fracture – Tooth fractures and chipping are a risk of chewing ice. This material is hard, and chewing it repeatedly involves forcefully chewing on a rigid substance. Fractures can cause sensitivity, discomfort, and a need for restorative dentistry procedures such as fillings.
- Temporarily Numbed Nerves – Ice can numb the nerves in your teeth and mouth. This can make biting your cheek and tongue easier, and you may not notice the damage until after the numbing disappears.
- Gum irritation – Chewing on ice can irritate your gum tissue, which is delicate and often sensitive to heat. This can increase your gum disease, abscesses, and periodontal disease risk.
- Risk of Cuts – Ice is a hard substance and can develop a sharp edge when crushed while chewing. These sharp edges can cut the roof of your mouth, damage your gums, or lacerate other sensitive tissues in your oral cavity.
- Sensitive Teeth – Chewing ice can also make your teeth more sensitive to temperature differences in food and drink. This can make eating painful or uncomfortable.
Another risk of chewing ice occurs when you have preexisting dental restorations. Ice can cause these restorations to dislodge or fracture due to chewing this hard material. In addition, you may also develop bad habits, including using your teeth as tools or grinding your teeth. Both of these can cause irreparable damage to your teeth and oral structures.
Dentistry of Miami Can Help Break The Habit
If you or one of your children have developed an ice-chewing habit, our team can help you find ways to break it. As satisfying as the habit can be, it can lead to serious dental complications requiring expensive treatments to repair. Get ahead by calling us at (305) 598-2622, or you can stop by our office in Miami, FL, and meet the team!