Why Ice Eating Should Be Avoided

Everyone has done it. It is a hot day and the ice floating in the cold drink looks so inviting. The next thing you know you are chewing on an ice cube and feeling the relief of coolness. What you don’t think about is the danger that is lurking inside that innocent looking ice cube. Ice eating could harm teeth and has been known to do serious damage to those pearly whites. Ice eating could harm teeth in both minor and major ways. The smallest damage that can be done by crunching on an ice cube is faster than normal enamel wear. When enamel is worn from teeth at an accelerated rate, it leaves them prone to a higher amount of cavities. Some of the more major damage that can occur because of eating ice would be fractures, chips and cracks to the tooth. The problems are more likely to occur on teeth that have already had work done and have a filling in place, specifically older fillings that are more rigid. Chewing on ice can also cause damage to gums because of the force of the ice breaking and from the ice chips and shards that make stab into the gums. Damage done through ice eating can be repaired but it will likely be painful and expensive. In some cases, especially those that are minor, dental insurance may not cover the costs of the dental work leaving the patient to pay the whole costs of the procedures. In other instances, crowns or bonding may be required and in the worst cases a root canal would prove to be the answer to the issue. So while ice eating could harm teeth it may also harm your pocketbook as well. While ice eating could be caused by something as minor as a bad habit, it is important to consider why chewing on ice cubes is an appealing option. For most people, it is just a habit of wanting something to chew on. If that is the case, substitute the ice cubes for gum or crunchy vegetable sticks. Another option is to limit access to ice by ordering drinks without it or drinking through a straw. However, the ice eating could be a symptom of iron deficiency anemia. Symptoms of anemia include cravings of strange items, such as paper, dirt and ice; being easily fatigued, unusually rapid heartbeat, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, pale skin, leg cramps and others. So while ice eating could harm teeth it could also be an underlying symptom of another problem.

Dr. Hazim is a member of the American Dental Association and the Texas Dental Association. A graduate of Loyola University, Dr. Hazim has undergone continuing education at the Pankey Institute and has received accreditation from the Western Regional Examining Board.

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