We are glad to announce that our office will be open as of June 4th, 2020, and have adopted new protocols for all patients and appointments.

Please view our ReOpening document.

Due to the recent events, we have added Extraoral suction units to each operatory (Pax 2000 Units) that will reduce germs and viruses for patients and staff by 99.7%.

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Chewing Ice Is Bad for Our Teeth

We hear a lot that it’s bad to chew ice.

It’s because ice can do a lot of damage to our teeth and gums.

Extreme Temperature Changes Versus Enamel

Tooth enamel might be the strongest substance in the body, but it’s also brittle. The issue with ice isn’t just that it’s hard, it’s also that it’s cold. Extreme temperature changes cause tooth enamel to expand and contract, creating tiny cracks and weakening the overall structure. It’s the same thing that happens to pavement in places that get snow.

Gum Injuries and Tooth Damage

While weaker enamel can lead to tooth sensitivity and vulnerability to decay, ice also isn’t good for gum tissue. It’s so cold that it creates a numbing effect, which can make it difficult to notice if it causes an injury to the gums. It’s also hard enough to break or chip teeth.

Where Do the Cravings Come From?

Why crave ice if there are only downsides to chewing it? The scientific term for compulsive ice eating is pagophagia. It could indicate an eating disorder called pica (the compulsion to eat non-food items, or it could be related to iron deficiency anemia. The chill of ice stimulates blood flow, counteracting low oxygen levels in the brain, but that only treats a symptom of anemia, not the cause.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.