Does Chewing Ice Cubes Hurt Your Teeth?
By Mina Levi, DDS, 05/29/14

When you get to the bottom of your pop or your glass of water, it is tempting to sometimes chew and eat the ice cubes that are left at the bottom of your glass. Many people chew on ice cubes for different reasons. Even though ice cubes are zero calories, chewing on them is not all that healthy for you. In this article, we will discuss the reasons why you shouldn’t chew on ice cubes for the sake of your oral health.

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      1. Chewing on ice cubes puts pressure on the teeth. The enamel that covers your teeth is very hard and brittle. Chewing on ice can wear down the enamel and chip pieces of the enamel off of the teeth. This can expose the underlying dentin and make your tooth sensitive, and can make way for oral bacteria to gather there and decay the teeth.

      2. Chewing ice can damage the gums. Ice cubes are hard and can be sharp at times. Chewing ice puts pressure on the gums as well as on the teeth, and can cause the gums to recede away from the teeth. Once gums recede, they will not grow back so it is important that you keep your gums as healthy as possible.

       3. Chewing ice causes a hot/cold cycle in the mouth. This hot/cold cycle can cause micro-fractures in the enamel of your teeth over time. Tooth enamel expands at a different rate than fillings, so if you have any fillings, they will expand/contract with the hot and cold temperature changes. This will cause fillings to pull away from the tooth and cause fractures, as well as leaving space for decay to form.

It is important that you identify the times and situations in which you chew on ice, so that you can recognize them beforehand and stop the habit. If you have any concerns about chewing ice and the effect it is having on your oral health, give Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS a visit on the web or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.