Chewing ice is bad for your teeth because it can damage your tooth enamel, or the protective layer that shields your teeth from decay. If you find yourself craving ice — and specifically wanting to crunch it with your teeth — then you're not alone. It can, but toothpaste is a better option — here's why, 10 signs your teeth aren't as healthy as you think they are, 13 things you do every day that can ruin your teeth. Here's how it can harm your pearly whites. Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. "If your tooth enamel were to be damaged, your teeth and entire oral hygiene, including gums, would then be susceptible and even prone to more bacterial infections and diseases," says Shahrooz Yazdani, DDS, from Yazdani Family Dentistry. "It's not uncommon," he says. For example, the American Dental Association suggests drinking from straws as a means of avoiding thoughtless chewing on ice — or switching to cold drinks without ice. Eating ice causes severe damage to teeth and gums: By constantly chewing on ice, you’re putting pressure on your teeth and you risk wearing down the enamel, the thin outer coating that protects the delicate internal tissue. A leading-edge research firm focused on digital transformation. Additionally, if the habit is a severe compulsion, you may have PICA, a mental health disorder that is characterized by eating inedible things. Beyond hurting your enamel, you could actually fracture your tooth, according to John Grbic, DMD, Professor of Dental Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. It isn't an easy habit to kick, but finding a replacement could save your teeth from damage and expensive dental work. Will you take salary cut for it? You especially shouldn’t chew ice if you have fillings, braces, or other dental restoration work, as it can cause more damage and be expensive to fix. For example, the American Dental Association suggests drinking from straws as a means of avoiding thoughtless chewing on ice – or switching to cold drinks without ice. Looking for smart ways to get more from life? Most of the time it’s the ice that breaks, but occasionally it’s the tooth that bears the brunt of the damage. "Every week we see at least one patient who has fractured their tooth because they ate an unpopped popcorn kernel, hard candy, or ice.". If it's the cold icy sensation you crave, Grbic recommends simply letting it melt in your mouth instead of crunching on it. It isn't an easy habit to kick, but finding a replacement could save your teeth from damage and expensive dental work. This is a habit that has been linked to anemia, and an iron supplement might help get your cravings in check. It can, but toothpaste is a better option – here’s why, 10 signs your teeth aren’t as healthy as you think they are, 13 things you do every day that can ruin your teeth, Give us your thoughts on these small business practices to win a $250 Westfield gift card, Clea DuVall talks coming out and directing a lesbian rom-com, Why it's almost impossible for cars to go 300 miles per hour, Doing these 24 uncomfortable things will pay off forever, Yes, Apple just killed iTunes — here's what that means for your library of music, movies, and TV shows. Unfortunately, if it's crunching that you desire, you're going to struggle to find a healthy alternative. “If your tooth enamel were to be damaged, your teeth and entire oral hygiene, including gums, would then be susceptible and even prone to more bacterial infections and diseases,” says Shahrooz Yazdani, DDS, from Yazdani Family Dentistry. Visiting with a therapist or psychiatrist is the first step in treating PICA. Ideally, you'd quit the habit altogether, but this softer ice could at least minimize the damage done. Enamel is what keeps your teeth strong and protected from chewing, biting, crunching, and grinding. Although ice chewing may seem like a harmless pastime, it can do some real damage - especially to the teeth and enamel. 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