If you find yourself absently and happily chewing away at a couple ice cubes after you’ve finished a drink, you’re not alone. There are many who enjoy chewing ice not just incidentally, but as a matter of habit.
It can be oddly satisfying to crunch your way through an ice cube. And, in fact, there may be a serious medical condition that is causing you to do so. (Be sure to check with your doctor if you have concerns.) But it is also dangerous to your teeth.
Whether you’re doing it to relieve stress, curb cravings, help quit smoking or for another reason, frequent ice chewing can cause:
- Chipped teeth
- Cracked teeth
- Crown damage
- Filling damage
- Sore jaw
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Teeth prone to cavities
- Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) problems
Here’s the good news: There are similar choices that are less harmful for your teeth, and some strategies to help you kick the habit altogether.
- The next time you have an urge, try indulging in a cold drink or slushie instead
- Switch your ice with popsicles
- Try letting the ice cube melt in your mouth rather than chewing it
- Explore other stress relieving strategies – such as essential oils, breathing exercises, keeping a journal, etc.
And, as always, see your doctor if chewing ice is more than a habit!