Why Is Chewing Ice Bad for Teeth?

On a hot summer day, chewing ice might seem like a refreshing way to cool off. Snow cones made from shaved ice are a delightful summer treat. But, while the occasional ice-based dessert won’t do much harm to your child’s teeth, chewing ice cubes or crushed ice can. Here are a few reasons to break the habit for good.chewing ice feature

Damages Tooth Enamel

Tooth enamel – it’s the hard outer layer of the tooth that helps protect against tooth decay. However, although it’s the hardest substance found in the human body, chewing on ice can still cause damage. Think of tooth enamel like paint on a car. When totally intact, the car shines. But, when the paint gets scratched, the body of the car is more likely to rust. When your child chews on ice, the enamel wears down. And, like the car without paint, the tooth is vulnerable to things like sugar and acid attacks. As a result, the tooth can start to decay and cavities may form as time goes on.

Harms Orthodontic Treatment

Retainers and braces help develop healthy smiles. And, for many people, orthodontia helps promote proper tooth and bite alignment. But, these appliances can’t do their job if they’re broken. Chewing on ice can easily cause damage to oral appliances. So, for children with braces, that might mean displacing wires or damaging brackets. In addition, retainers may also suffer damage as a result of chewing ice. To help prevent an expensive trip to the orthodontist, it’s important to advise your child not to chew on ice.

Cracks and Chips Teeth

If hard candies can chip a tooth, you can bet that chewing ice can, too. Ice is a very hard object – one that’s so hard, it puts teeth at high risk for chipping and breaking. If your child breaks a tooth while chewing ice, they should be seen by a dentist as soon as possible. Otherwise, the fractured tooth may lead to other problems, such as an infection.

Damages Dental Fillings

In general, dental fillings last approximately seven to ten years. Although, silver amalgam and gold fillings can last much longer. Regardless, fillings won’t last nearly as long if the child is chewing ice. Just like ice chewing can damage oral appliances, it can also harm dental fillings. Hard substances, like ice, have the potential to crack or dislodge fillings.

Stop the Habit

Try replacing your child’s cup of ice with cold drinks or popsicles. If you’re still having trouble stopping the habit, make an appointment at Tooth Fairy Smiles. Dr. Prokop and her staff will examine your child’s teeth to determine if the ice-chewing habit has caused any damage. If so, we’ll help restore his or her smile. We’re also happy to resolve your concerns by providing further tips and guidance. Call us today at 410-897-1931 for more information.