Our teeth are not designed for some of the odd jobs we use them for, such as tearing open a bag of chips, ripping off a price tag, or uncapping a bottle of nail polish. And bad habits like these can ruin your dental health. One of the simplest ways to prevent injuries to your teeth or gums, according to The American Dental Association, is to avoid chewing ice. While it can relieve boredom or stress, chewing ice is not a harmless habit. Your teeth are simply not designed to crush ice in the same way a blender can.
Some of the ways chewing ice can damage your teeth:
- Crack your teeth: If you chew ice, you’re at risk of cracking your teeth. Not only does this cause a cosmetic issue, it also compromises the function of your mouth and leaves it vulnerable to infection. If the crack is beneath the gumline, you may need to have the tooth extracted and replaced with a dental implant.
- Wear down the enamel: The hard, outer coating on your teeth is called enamel. It keeps the teeth strong and protected, but the more it wears down, the more likely you are to experience dental problems.
- Ruin fillings, crowns, dentures, and dental appliances: Most dental work you’ve had done cannot sustain ice chewing, especially dental appliances like retainers. If you break a dental filling, you may need root canal treatment to replace the damaged tooth and preserve its function.
- Increase sensitivity: Exposing your teeth to extreme temperature changes damages the nerves inside your teeth. If you already have tooth sensitivity, chewing ice can make it worse.
- Indicate a more serious, underlying health condition: Some people chew ice compulsively and are addicted to it. This can be a sign of a serious health issue, such as a nutritional deficiency, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Iron-deficiency anemia, which affects as much as 25% of the U.S. population, is the most common nutritional problem associated with ice chewing.
Ready to kick the ice-chewing habit? Schedule your dental checkup and cleaning at Austell Dental Associates today by calling (770) 467-3888 today!