Have you ever eaten all of your dinner, drank all of your water and then flirted with the last remaining edible item on the table – the ice in the bottom of your glass? If so, you’re not alone. Many people chew ice cubesfor a variety of different reasons. Your may think this habit is relatively harmless since ice is made of water. After all, it’s not like you are sucking on a piece of sugary candy, right? Well, the impact of ice chewing on your teeth is less than desirable. Here’s why:
1-Chewing ice puts an enormous amount of pressure on your teeth. While the dentin in our teeth is relatively flexible, the enamel is very hard and doesn’t flex much. Chewing ice can wear down the enamel and even chip or fracture pieces of the enamel off of the teeth.
2-Chewing ice causes a repetitive hot/cold cycle in your mouth. This can cause micro cracks in your enamel over time. Also, tooth enamel expands at a different rate than fillings. If you have a white filling, it will expand and contract much faster than the tooth when exposed to hot and cold temperatures. This could lead to a breakdown of the seal at the tooth/filling interface and may shorten the life of your filling.
3-If you have braces, the ice could damage them. The ice is strong enough to break off brackets and even bend the ortho wires.
4-It can damage your gums. Ice chunks are hard and can be pretty sharp. Although I don’t know of any studies to back this up, it would seem that if you are constantly chewing ice and pressing down on the gums, you could cause injury to your gums and perhaps even cause your gums to recede.
If you can, it is a lot better to simply such on ice cubes rather than chew them. Although this still can cause extremely cold temperatures in your mouth which could shorten the life of your fillings, it is much better to suck on ice than it is to chew on it.