Both for children and adults, chewing ice is a common mindless activity. Many of us do it on a regular basis, and it seems like a harmless way to redirect some of our nervous energy.
At the offices of Walker Pediatric Dentistry, however, we’re here to tell you that when it comes to teeth and your children in particular, this is not the case. We’re all about preventive services that keep your child’s mouth safe from issues arising and worsening, and while it may not seem like a big deal, one of the areas we recommend here is getting your kids out of the habit of chewing ice – and doing so yourself if it’s a vice of yours. Let’s look at some of the oral damage that can take place due to chewing ice regularly.
Teeth are durable and meant to stand up to many pressures, but hard objects like ice are not part of their standard chewing requirements – especially not when these items are chewed often. One of the most common results here is chipped or cracked teeth, which will require you to drop everything and make an emergency visit to the dental office with your child.
If this does happen, even if the cause is something other than chewing ice, do your best to save the remaining parts of the cracked tooth in a small bag of milk. From here, immediately call our offices and get in as soon as possible. If we’re able to get you in quickly, we can often repair your child’s tooth fracture on the spot.
Tooth enamel is what protects your teeth and gums from bacteria and cavities, plus from long-term risks like tooth decay and acid attacks. It’s known as one of the hardest substances in the human body, but it can still be damaged by chewing ice regularly. In these cases, your child might be at significantly higher risk of decay and other issues over time – and you may not even notice it until their next appointment with the dentist, allowing it more and more time to worsen.
In many situations, we’ll help outfit your children with oral appliances like braces or retainers to help with their long-term oral care. These are all durable devices, but they can still be damaged significantly by regularly chewing ice – braces brackets can be bent, wires can be dislodged or the entire device can be thrown out of alignment, and all of these might require expensive fixes from your orthodontist. Be very clear about reminding them of these risks.
In addition, chewing ice can significantly damage dental fillings, which are used for a variety of purposes. Like a cracked or chipped tooth, losing or damaging a filling requires an immediate dental visit to help repair the problem.
For more on the risks of chewing ice, or to learn about any of our pediatric dental services, speak to the staff at Walker Pediatric Dentistry today.