It's summertime, which means plenty of time for icy, cold drinks. If you are enjoying more than the drink, however, and chewing on the ice, you could be doing some serious harm to your teeth. Ice was not meant for you to chew on; it should be left in your drink to cool it down and nothing else. Ice can cause many different types of damage to your teeth which can be painful and invasive to fix.
Ice is too Hard
Your teeth are not meant to chew on excessively hard substances. When you chew down on ice, your enamel pays the price. It can suffer from chips, cracks and fissures. In addition, the enamel can become weakened, which puts your mouth at risk for a variety of oral health issues. The enamel on your teeth needs to remain strong as it is the exterior of your tooth; when it becomes weak, the interior of your tooth which can be very sensitive will be exposed.
Decay Can Occur
When you chew on ice and damage the enamel in your mouth, you are at greater risk for tooth decay. This is because the enamel that protects the teeth is now weaker. When you eat sugary foods or leave bacteria on your teeth for an extended period of time, the bacteria and sugar turn into acid which further weaken the enamel, causing decay.
Chipped Teeth Occur
If you love your pearly whites and are proud of your smile, stop chewing on ice. One wrong bite and you could chip your tooth or teeth. This could ruin your beautiful smile and require you to have either cosmetic or even restorative dental procedures done. If the chip is damaging enough that it goes to the root, you may even have to have the tooth extracted and replaced with a dental implant.
Your Gums Could get Hurt
Don't forget about the value of your gums too! When you chew ice, if there is a sharp piece that remains in your mouth it could pierce the gums. This could put your mouth at risk for infection without you even realizing it. Suddenly that piece of ice has caused extensive damage that requires invasive procedures in order to rectify the situation.
How to Stop Chewing Ice
Most people that chew ice do it out of habit. If it is a nervous or stress reducing habit, try to use another outlet. Some people replace chewing ice with chewing gum. This is perfectly acceptable as long as the gum is sugarless and has the ADA seal of approval. Other ways that you can replace your ice chewing habit is to stop putting ice in your drinks, practicing other stress reducing habits like exercise or even therapy, and consulting with us for methods to help you stop. In rare cases, chewing ice is a sign of a nutritional deficiency. If this is the case, seeing your doctor will help you get to the bottom of the deficiency as well as a way to rectify it.
If you chew ice, it is important that you put an end to it today. You could wind up doing permanent damage to your mouth as a result of your habit. We see many patients that have successfully stopped this habit and now have beautiful, healthy teeth as a result. If you need help or are unsure if your habit is wreaking havoc on your oral health, come in for an appointment today. We will help you determine what is going on in your mouth and how to put an end to the habit that is ruining your oral health.
Our patients come back to us because we truly care about the care you receieve. Here are some of the things our amazing patients have to say about us:
Dr. Courtney and her staff are super friendly and made me feel really comfortable. I had to get implants for two "baby" teeth i still had left b/c i never grew permanent teeth in their place. I had to be sedated for the operation and expected to be out of commission for a couples days and in a lot of pain the following week. However, that evening I felt surprisingly good with minimal pain.
Dr. Myers is the best. I have been a patient of his for about 5 years and every time I come he makes me feel super relaxed and at ease. I have had everything from a simple cleaning to crowns and everything is virtually painless afterwards. I would recommend him to any person who is seeking a great dentist and staff.