August 10, 2019
When you’re enjoying an ice-cold beverage, it can be natural to want to chew on the ice cubes at the end, especially on a very hot day. Unfortunately, it’s become increasingly common for people to visit their dentist for emergency treatment because they cracked one or multiple teeth as a result of their ice chewing habit. This habit can lead to extensive restorative treatments and higher dental care costs. Avoiding a cracked tooth in Arcadia, CA and more is why you should stop doing it entirely. Keep reading to learn tips that can help you quit altogether and save your teeth from harm in the process.
How Harmful is Chewing Ice Really?
When you think about it, solid ice has the potential to be as hard as a rock. You obviously wouldn’t chew rocks so liberally, so why wouldn’t the same be true for ice? Even if the ice is melting as you chew, it remains incredibly hard for a long time, and it only takes one misplaced bite to cause serious damage to your enamel. Furthermore, even if you don’t necessarily crack your teeth in one bite, there’s no question that regular grinding and chewing of ice is slowly yet surely eroding your tooth enamel. It is crucial that you maintain as much of your healthy enamel as possible because it won’t come back after it’s gone, and chewing ice undermines that goal. Additionally, your teeth will only become more sensitive as your enamel continues to erode, making it difficult to consume hot or cold substances.
What is Pagophagia?
While most people are not aware of this condition, pagophagia is a phenomenon where someone has an impulsive desire to chew ice. Keep in mind that if you regularly feel the need to chew ice, even if you aren’t drinking an iced beverage, it could mean a host of other issues that you may not have been aware of previously.
For example, chewing ice is often associated with iron deficiency, meaning you aren’t getting enough iron from the foods you eat. It could also be a sign of stress, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or a developmental disorder. Overall, if you notice a friend or family member constantly chewing ice, their smile isn’t the only concern you should keep in mind.
Solutions to Curb and End Your Habit
If you find it difficult to end your ice-chewing habit, take a moment to consider the following tips.
- Switch to a much finer, slushy form of ice. This takes away much of the hardness associated with it.
- Chew gum instead, preferably sugar-free gum.
- If you’re chewing ice because you’re stressed, find a habit that does not involve chewing ice. Practice breathing exercises, meditate, or listen to music to take your mind off of the stress
- The best thing you can do is skip beverages altogether that require ice. Take the time to prepare your favorite beverages so they can be chilled in the fridge rather than through ice cubes.
Do you need help quitting your ice habit, or are you experiencing sensitive teeth in Arcadia, CA? Schedule an appointment with a dentist today to confirm the cause and how you can prevent a future dental emergency!
About the Author
Dr. Kenneth J. Canzoneri earned his dental degree from the Northwestern Dental School. He’s more than prepared to help patients end bad habits, especially those that are harmful to their smile and oral health. To learn more about his practice, how to handle a dental emergency, or find treatment for your sensitive or damaged teeth, you can contact him through his website.
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