The Risks Involved With Chewing Ice, And How To Stop

For some people, chewing ice is just a habit, especially when it’s hot out. Unfortunately, this cooling habit can lead to damage to your gums, enamel, and teeth. Many patients are aware of the dangers involved but find the habit difficult to break. With a bit of effort and dedication, we can find better alternatives. These choices will be less damaging to our teeth while still satisfying that deep-seated need to crunch. We’re going to give a little information on the dangers of chewing ice and some alternatives to help you quit.

The Risks Involved With Chewing Ice, And How To Stop

Like any hard food, ice has the potential to chip, crack, or even completely break your teeth. Even though it’s frozen water, it has the potential to create sharp edges that can cut your gums. If this wasn’t enough? The hard nature of ice is capable of wearing away enamel faster. The resulting loss of enamel means vulnerability to cavities and decay. Those who have fillings, veneers, and crowns are at even higher risk. Ice is hard enough to crack these pieces of dental work. This habit can result in costly repairs being needed.

So what alternatives are there to chewing ice?

  • Let It Melt – Rather than crunching down on that little cube of dental danger, let it melt. Moving it around in your mouth can be a satisfying experience. As it melts, it will cool and moisten your mouth, and you’ll get to enjoy it longer.
  • Avoid Temptation – Ask your server at restaurants to leave the ice out of your beverage. In addition to getting more drink in your glass, you’ll also avoid contaminants. Ice makers have a reputation for being difficult to clean and great homes for bacteria.
  • Slushies For The Win – Want all that icy goodness without the risk of subconscious chewing? Slushies are the perfect compromise. They’re full of delicious tiny ice crystals, but they’re too small to crunch! Shaved ice is another option, as is nugget ice. 
  • Find Your Reason – Speak to your dentist if crunching ice is hard to resist. Research has shown that those who chew ice compulsively often have mineral deficiencies. Iron deficiency is the most common reason a supplement can help.
  • Switch Your Crunch – While the cooling effect that ice has is lovely, it’s the crunch you’re wanting. You may be able to avoid chewing ice by switching to apples, cucumber slices, carrot sticks, etc. These can satisfy your need to crunch without putting your teeth in danger. As a bonus, the fiber in these foods helps boost saliva flow. Saliva is an essential part of our body’s defense against tooth decay.

Speak To Your dentist For Additional Help

If you’ve tried all the tricks you can think of and can’t stop crunching, speak to your dentist. They can offer suggestions that will help you protect your teeth. While they can’t make chewing ice safe for you, they can be your ally. Like quitting any habit, it’s always nice to know that you’ve got friends on your side.

Dr. Maherin Momin

Dr. Momin is a proud alumna of the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, where she graduated summa cum laude in her class. Dr. Momin strives to provide her patients with excellent care and ensure patients are fully educated about their dental conditions and needs, so they can make the informed decision that is best for them. Despite her stellar academic record, Dr. Momin is also part of the American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association, and Greater Houston Dental Society.

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