There are many seemingly harmless habits that you're doing every day that could be wreaking havoc on your dental health.
Believe it or not, chewing on ice can do serious damage to your teeth, and it's important for you to understand why so you'll think twice before chomping down on a nice cold piece of ice.
Chewing ice may harm your teeth
Your teeth are made up of enamel and dentin. According to OralAnswers.com, when you chew on ice, you're putting a great deal of pressure on your teeth and are at risk of wearing down the enamel, which can cause cracks or chips. When the enamel is chipped and dentin is exposed, your teeth will weaken and you may experience sensitivity.
It's a dangerous cycle
When you chew ice, you're creating a repetitive hot and cold cycle in your mouth, which can cause small cracks in the enamel. Not only will this weaken your teeth, but it could also cause serious problems with any fillings you may have. According to OralAnswers.com, a filling may expand faster than the tooth when exposed to hot and cold temperatures, which can shorten the life of the filling.
It could be the sign of something worse
Yahoo! Voices published an article by Kristie Leong, M.D., who said that if you constantly feel the urge to chew ice, it could be the sign of a serious condition called pica. This is a medical problem that causes people to have an urge to chew on things that have no nutritional value, such as ice or small rocks. This urge can sometimes be overwhelming and may lead to people chewing on dangerous items.
Furthermore, the doctor said that studies have shown that people with the iron deficiency anemia may be more likely to chew on ice than people who have enough iron, which is why you should consider seeing your doctor if you always chew on ice.
It can hurt your gums
Finally, bits of ice can be sharp, and you run the risk of puncturing your gums when you chew on them. Consider carrying sugar-free gum around so you'll have something else to chew instead of ice (but no more than 10 minutes a day).