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For Healthy Teeth's Sake Stop Chewing Ice!

There is a good reason dental health professionals warn their patients not to chew ice. This habit can cause serious and permanent damage to teeth and gums, so what makes it so addicting in spite of the dangers?


There is a term for it. Compulsive ice eating is called pagophagia. Sometimes it is a symptom of pica - a psychological disorder in which a person feels compelled to eat large quantities of non-food items, such as dirt, clay, hair, or ice. A nutrition gap could be responsible.


Recent studies suggest a link between anemia and compulsive ice eating. The theory is that chewing ice makes up for the lack of iron (which we need to carry oxygen to the brain) by stimulating blood flow to the head. It is an interesting workaround but does not seem to address the root cause. Iron supplements would be more effective, without the drawbacks of chewing ice on dental health.


What can ice do to our teeth and gums? The same thing it can do to pavement over repeated freezes and thaws. The problem is not how hard ice is, but how cold it is. Tooth enamel is very brittle and can easily fracture due to so many dramatic temperature changes from the contact with ice. The gums are also in danger. The ice numbs them, so it is hard to notice if they are getting sliced and damaged.


The more you know the more you grow! Please email us or give us a call to learn more or to schedule your complimentary orthodontic consultation.

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