Eating ice cubes seems harmless enough. Ice has zero calories and it can help us cool down after exercising or being out in the sun. Some people even claim to be addicted to eating ice and do it on a daily basis. While it may seem like a great way to cool down during the heat of the day, this seemingly innocuous habit can actually have serious consequences for your smile. Here’s a few of the dangers associated with chomping down on ice cubes:
Chewing on really hard objects like ice cubes puts a lot of pressure on your teeth. Your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your entire body. When it cracks down on ice, that’s a pretty serious impact, and although it’s really hard, enamel does wear down and even chip or crack. When the enamel is chipped and the dentin (softer inner layer) of your teeth is exposed, you can experience tooth sensitivity.
Chewing ice creates temperature extremes. Over time, microscopic cracks in your tooth enamel can result to the constant expanding and contracting caused by the swings in temperature. Also, any fillings you have expand and contract at different rates than your teeth, and this could wear down the seal in the fillings.
Chewing ice could damage braces. Because it’s such a hard substance, biting down on ice might cause a bracket to break off or bend a wire, thereby disrupting the effectiveness of your braces. At that point, you’ll have to pay an unexpected visit to your orthodontist.
Chewing ice can damage your gums. A broken piece of ice can have a sharp edge to it, and if you bite down on a sharp edge, you could injure your gums and possibly cause gum recession.
Some studies show that the urge to chew on ice can be a symptom of serious health issues, such as iron deficiency. If you’re having trouble breaking this habit, talk to your dentist or doctor about it. Also, in the event of a dental emergency, call your dentist right away.