Many people have the habit of chewing ice, especially during hot summer days. Do you know this habit can damage your teeth? Like various other hard foods, ice can damage the teeth, enamel, and gums. A large number of people every year visit their dentist in Roswell, GA, with the issue of damaged teeth due to ice chewing habits.
Ice chewing is one of the most common forms of pica and is known as pagophagia. Pica is the medical term used to crave and chew items with very little or no nutritional value, such as ice, sand, chalk, clay, rocks, etc.
So, why do people chew ice, and what exactly a prolonged habit of chewing on ice can lead to? Well, many people enjoy chewing on ice due to many reasons such as:
- They find it a relaxing activity, especially if they are having dry mouth problems.
- Chewing on ice helps to relieve stress and aid relaxation.
- It helps to satisfy hunger cravings as it mimics the feeling of eating something without ingesting calories.
- Chewing ice helps to satisfy obsessive behaviors.
- For some people chewing on ice cubes is simply a habit.
Chewing on ice for a long time can lead to dental damage such as cracked or chipped teeth. Besides, it can also harm the tooth enamel, further leading to increased sensitivity to hot and cold items. When teeth are sensitive, they become more prone to cavities and tooth decay. Chewing ice can also harm the existing dental work, including crowns, veneers, fillings, etc.
Alternatives to ice chewing
People who find it difficult to give up the habit of chewing ice and try using certain alternatives such as:
Let the ice melt: Rather than crunching the whole ice cube, it is advisable to let them melt in your mouth slowly. People who do this can enjoy the same satisfying refreshment from the ice. The best thing about letting the ice melt is that the refreshment will last for longer in the mouth as compared to chewing on the entire ice cube at once.
Control the temptation: It is always better to control your temptation of chewing on ice. Whether you are at home or outside at a restaurant, try skipping ice in your beverages. This way, you can avoid chewing on ice. Another important reason to avoid including ice in your beverages at a restaurant or anywhere outside is that they may not be cleaned properly. The chances are high that they contain a lot of bacteria.
Opt for cold drinks or popsicles: If you have started chewing on ice to avoid dry mouth problems or prevent the tobacco habit, you can try switching to cold drinks or popsicles.
Try using slush: You can also replace your regular ice cubes with slush, which is partially melted ice. These are softer types of ice that do not cause much harm to your dental health. Like slushies, one can also try using shaved ice or soft ice, also known as nugget ice. These are quite softer and easily melt inside the mouth.
Try crunch switch: Sometimes, people chew ice because they feel the need to crunch something. So, whenever you feel the need to crunch, instead of using ice cubes, you can go for apple slices, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, and other healthy alternatives that are tasty and crisp. Do you know crunching on fruits and vegetables will not only satisfy your crunching needs but will also act as a natural mouthwash? Yes, the fibrous material present in the fruits and vegetables will stimulate saliva production, which is a natural mouthwash and good for the health of your teeth and gums.
These are some of the key alternatives to ice chewing. Even after trying these alternatives, if you still need to chew on ice cubes, it is advisable to look for an underlying cause. Contact your dentist in Roswell, GA, to determine the underlying cause. Sometimes the craving to chew ice is the result of iron deficiency, also known as anemia. People suffering from anemia conditions usually have low red blood cells that are essential for supplying oxygen throughout the body. Suppose you are suffering from any form of anemia. In that case, you may experience various symptoms like fatigue, breathlessness, pain in the chest, heart palpitations, dizziness, pale skin, cold hands, feet, or both, swollen tongue, etc.
If iron deficiency is the reason behind the increasing craving for chewing ice cubes, your dentist may suggest you take an iron supplement. If you are detected with anemia that is causing you to crave ice, it is advisable to get proper treatment for your medical condition. Several reports suggest that people with anemia and are addicted to chewing ice can easily let go of their habit of chewing on ice cubes after taking proper treatment for their medical condition. If this is not the reason, the dentist will suggest other best ways to deal with this condition.
How to deal with the damage caused by chewing ice?
If your ice chewing habit has already resulted in damaging your teeth, it is essential to practice good dental care. Take all the necessary precautions as suggested by your dentist. Also, try using the best suitable alternatives to chewing on ice cubes. It might take some time to get over this habit completely, but with the help of proper treatment and dedication, you can surely ditch this habit.
Chewing on ice cubes is a common habit that brings a lot of satisfaction and creates a lot of problems for the overall oral health. It is better to avoid such habits and find alternative ways to satisfy your cravings. If you can still deal with this habit, it is better to seek the help of a professional dentist in Roswell, GA.
TruCare dentistry is one of the popular sources where you can find the best possible dental treatments and consultations related to dental care. If you are looking for a consultation to deal with the issue of chewing on ice, make an appointment or visit our clinic today.