Is it bad to chew ice?

Summer is just around the corner and temperatures are rising.  Patients and parents often arrive at the office with colorful, refreshing, delicious summer beverages filled with ice cubes.  We know it is bad for our teeth to drink sugary beverages.  What about the ice cubes?  Is it really bad if we chew them?

The short answer is:  Yes, it is definitely bad for your teeth to chew ice.  There are multiple reasons why. 

Chewing ice is a common cause of microfractures.  Microfractures are thin cracks that can run from the chewing edges of teeth all the way down to the root surfaces.  These cracks act as an entry point for bacteria into the tooth with the result being an increased risk for cavities and increased tooth sensitivity.

Microfractures also weaken the structure of teeth making them more likely to break.  If you chew ice cubes and later have an injury to your teeth, the chances of the teeth breaking are much greater.

While tooth enamel is among the hardest substances in our bodies, it is not meant to be used to chew on anything other than food.  Don’t risk damaging or breaking your teeth.  Instead of chewing ice, simply suck on the ice cubes and allow them to melt in your mouth or chew sugarless gum.

Read more from the Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center here.


About the Author:

Since 1972, Salem Pediatric Dental & Orthodontic Associates has provided comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through adolescence including those with special health care needs. We proudly serve the communities of Salem, Lynn, Peabody, Danvers, Marblehead, Swampscott, Beverly, and many more.
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