Six colorful sweet cookies

Is Chewing Ice Bad For Your Teeth? Five Bad Tooth Habits to Watch Out For

In Dentistry by Ian IzaguirreLeave a Comment

We’ve all been guilty of not flossing our teeth or missing the brush-twice-a-day mark every once in a while. However, there are some tooth habits that are merely contributing to toothless grandma/grandpa in the making.

five notorious tooth habits to avoid

#1. Is Chewing Ice Bad For Your Teeth

Yes, chewing ice is bad for your teeth. People often consume ice in order to satisfy an addictive-like compulsion, rather than for purposes of hydration or pain relief. It’s really easy to slurp down some iced tea or ice-cold soda and then crunch on the ice that is leftover, but the cold, brittle nature of the ice can lead to fracture of the teeth or cause microscopic cracks on the enamel. Same goes with popcorn kernels or fruit pits, that can lead to tooth fractures or cause undue stress.

“Pica” is the medical term for craving and chewing on items that have little or no nutritional value – such as ice, dirt, clay, chalk, paper, paint, sand and rocks.
Chewing on ice is the most common form of pica and is called pagophagia.

Pagophagia is a particular form of pica characterized by ingestion of ice, freezer frost or iced drinks often associated with iron or calcium deficiency.

Its occurrence is often a result of a complex interplay in between behavioral components. It is strange that most pica items contain little to no iron, yet those who have this behavioral habit seem to be increasingly linked to having iron deficiency anemia. Medical science is not yet 100% sure why people with anemia seem compelled to chew ice but suspect the coolness of the crunchy cubes may soothe the oral inflammations often caused by iron deficiencies. A study done in 2010 found that the prevalence of pica was significantly greater in women than men with iron deficiency.

#2. teeth grinding

Teeth grinding often stems from the presence of a nervous weakness or anxiety and can wear down your teeth. While you can find a way to avoid this habit during the day and cope with anxiety, wearing mouth guards while you sleep also helps the cause. A night guard prevents movement of teeth and protects them from damage while you sleep at night.

#3. using your teeth as a bottle opener

You may use your teeth as a bottle opener or to help you pull out that watch stem, but here’s a piece of advice: your teeth are anything but cutting tools. Even when done occasionally, such actions can traumatize your teeth, weakening it and causing it to chip or even lead to a fracture. Have bottle-openers, pliers, or scissors do the job the next time rather than conveniently rendering it with your teeth.

#4. using firmer toothbrushes

While many people prefer firmer toothbrushes, this can damage the teeth, especially for older adults. The gums tend to push back while the roots become exposed, increasing the sensitivity of teeth with age. The cementum on the root can be easily eroded, and brushes with hard bristles may lead to gum irritation and tooth sensitivity in such cases. A brush should be chosen after consulting a dentist on what best suits the person’s dental structure and health.

#5. snacking between meals

There’s is no such thing as guilt-free snacking. Snacking between meals causes the residue to stick onto the teeth for a longer period during which acids and bacteria can come out to the surface. The worst picks for snacking and your dental health are sticky or gooey sweets such as potato wafers, cookies, and crackers that have bacteria’s favorite refined carbohydrates.

Show Article Sources
“Is Chewing Ice Bad For Your Teeth? Five Bad Tooth Habits to Watch Out For”
BHATIA M, KAUR N. Pagophagia- A Common but Rarely Reported Form of Pica. Journal Of Clinical & Diagnostic Research [serial online]. January 2014;8(1):195-196. Available from: Academic Search Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed December 22, 2016.
Barton J, Barton J, Bertoli L. Pica associated with iron deficiency or depletion: clinical and laboratory correlates in 262 non-pregnant adult outpatients. BMC Blood Disorders [serial online]. January 2010;10:9-19. Available from: Academic Search Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed December 22, 2016

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.