We all know that extremely hot and extremely cold substances can trigger chronic sensitivity in teeth. Then why do so many people chew ice on a regular basis? It’s not just the short-term pain that hurts ice-chewers; cracking those cubes can cause serious damage to your enamel, and even fracture or break teeth altogether. Your family dentist urges you not to take that kind of risk.
Teeth aren’t designed to regularly interact with hard substances like ice. If you have the urge to chew on something, there are safer alternatives than ice. Sugar free gum can mollify this craving without abrasively chipping or cracking your teeth. If you miss the satisfaction of crunching down on something, try to work yourself off ice by substituting sunflower seeds.
As with any behavior, there are different levels of severity. When it comes to chewing ice, ask yourself the following questions before taking action to change your habits.
- How often do you chew on ice? If it’s an occasional indulgence, it won’t be difficult to kick the habit. However, if you find yourself eating ice on a daily basis, it could be symptomatic of a greater underlying problem such as nutritional deficiency. Studies have shown that chewing ice is a common symptom of irregular iron levels. Also known as Pica, this condition manifests as the urge to consume substances with no nutritional value like ice, clay, or even dirt. Consult your dentist for more information.
- What triggers your chewing? Pay attention to what prompts this behavior; is it stress, boredom? Once you know the underlying cause, you can be on the lookout for familiar situations and check yourself more effectively.
If you really feel like you can’t stop chewing ice, take measures to lessen the intensity of the behavior. Investing in an ice crusher can reduce the size of the cubes and make them more manageable for your teeth to crush.
If you live in the Reynoldsburg or Columbus areas, call today for an appointment and consultation with Dr. Loper. We look forward to hearing from you!