Maybe you do it out of boredom. It’s possible you like the satisfying, “crunch, crunch, crunch” sounds it makes. Perhaps it is a hot and humid day, and you just need to cool down. No matter the reason, there are lots of people out there who love to chomp down on cubes of ice.
One of the most common questions that we get at Babylon Dental Care is, “Is chewing on ice cubes bad for my teeth?”
The answer is an unequivocal yes. Chewing on ice is a terrible habit that can do significant damage to your pearly whites. Why is it so detrimental to your oral health? We break down why you should never crunch on ice cubes and how doing so can impact your health.
Why Is Chewing on Ice So Bad for Your Teeth?
Ice is just solid water. What could be so bad about that? Ice is a very tough substance, and chewing on it can wear down the enamel on your teeth. The enamel is the outermost covering of your teeth. It is made up of calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals and is one of the hardest substances in the human body. However, it is not indestructible. Constantly chewing on ice can wear down your enamel and make your teeth more sensitive to hot and cold. Crunching ice can also crack and chip teeth.
Chewing on ice can also damage teeth if the ice is sweetened with sugary syrups or juice. While it may taste delightful, the combination of sugar and hard icy material can be even more detrimental to tooth enamel.
The Other Dangers of Chewing on Ice
While consistently chomping on ice is bad for your teeth, it may also be a sign of a deeper problem. If you can’t stop chewing on ice, you may have a medical condition known as pagophagia. Pagophagia is a subset of a condition called pica. Pica is categorized as a disorder where people compulsively eat or chew on non-food items.
Pagophagia can be a sign of a possible nutritional deficiency, most often iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency anemia is a condition that impacts red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. Iron deficiency anemia happens when there is not enough iron in the blood. Without iron, red blood cells can’t carry oxygen like they are supposed to. It is still unclear why some people with this condition constantly need to chew on ice.
Chewing on ice may also be a sign of a compulsive mental health condition.
Schedule an Appointment with Babylon Dental Care Today
Don’t wait for a tooth to break. If you chew on ice cubes regularly, schedule an appointment with Babylon Dental Care today. Routine dental care can help protect your teeth from the impacts of ice chewing. An experienced dentist may also have solutions to help you break the ice chewing habit.
To schedule your appointment with a caring and supportive dental team, call our office at (631) 983-8937. We want to give you something to smile about!