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Dental Health PSA: Stop Chewing Ice!

Cup filled with Water and Ice, with Hand holding Ice cube up close

As parents, we’re always working to protect our child’s health and well-being. For many people, it’s natural to explore different habits, even if they aren’t necessarily healthy for us. Thumb-sucking is a common habit known to cause tooth problems, such as misalignments and poor jaw development. But one common habit that almost everyone takes part in can be quite harmful when done over time: chewing ice. Many children enjoy chewing on ice when they have a refreshing drink, but over time this seemingly harmless habit can cause damage to their teeth. At OC Kids Dental, we’re here to shed light on the dangers of chewing ice and can provide some tips to help slow down or break this habit for your child’s smile. 

The Consequences of Your Child Chewing Ice

Dentists often warn against chewing ice because it’s a habit that can do serious, permanent damage to your teeth and gums. However, the reason why we chew ice in the first place is a fascinating one. When we chew ice, our bodies get stimulated, allowing blood to flow to the brain and temporarily boosting mental clarity and alertness. When we’re feeling sluggish, it’s often due to a lack of iron in our red blood cells. Even though ice contains zero iron, people compulsively eat ice because it stimulates our brains, and for children, stimulation is everything!

While chewing ice can be stimulating, it poses quite a problem for your child’s teeth. The cold temperatures from the ice can leave your child’s tooth enamel more vulnerable to the effects, causing problems such as: 

  • Tooth Fractures: Chewing ice puts excessive pressure on your child’s teeth, which can lead to fractures or chips. The force exerted while crunching on ice can be too much for their developing teeth to handle, resulting in painful fractures that may require dental intervention.
  • Tooth Sensitivity: Chewing ice exposes your child’s teeth to extreme temperatures, causing sensitivity. This can make it uncomfortable for them to enjoy hot or cold foods and beverages, potentially affecting their eating habits and overall enjoyment of meals.
  • Damage to Dental Restorations: If your child has dental fillings, pediatric crowns, or other restorations, chewing ice increases the risk of damaging or dislodging them. The force exerted while crunching on ice can cause these restorations to break, leading to the need for costly repairs or replacements.

Because of these reasons, we highly recommend encouraging your child to limit or break the habit entirely. Some tips we can provide to help them break the habit include an iron-rich diet, encouraging them to stay hydrated, and giving them cold drinks that don’t contain ice to reduce these effects. But most importantly, help them keep up with their oral health by scheduling regular appointments with their dentist and making sure they brush their teeth!

Visit OC Kids Dental For Your Child’s Next Appointment

At OC Kids Dental in Aliso Viejo, CA, we are committed to providing comprehensive dental care for children. If you have concerns about your child’s dental health or need assistance breaking harmful habits, our experienced pediatric dental team is here to support you. Call us at (949) 362-9860 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Cima Atabaki and learn more about maintaining optimal dental health for your child’s beautiful smile.

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