It’s Time To Kick That Ice-Chewing Habit

CHEWING ICE MIGHT SEEM refreshing in the moment, but it’s not doing any favors for your teeth in the long run. Today we’re going to take a look at why ice chewing is such a common habit despite the dangers it poses, as well as what someone with this habit can do to stop.

Compulsive Ice Eating

The scientific name for compulsive ice eating is pagophagia. This goes beyond a simple habit and enters the territory of a mental disorder. Getting cravings for ice can be a sign of an eating disorder called pica, which involves a compulsion to eat things with no nutritional value, such as ice, clay, hair, and dirt. Pica is often the result of a nutritional deficiency.

Iron Deficiency Anemia

Studies have shown a correlation between compulsive ice eating and iron deficiency anemia, which is pretty common, with 20 percent of women, 50 percent of pregnant women, and 3 percent of men being iron deficient. Without enough iron in the blood, the red blood cells can’t effectively do their job of carrying oxygen throughout the body.

What does iron have to do with ice? Well, researchers theorize that chewing ice sends more blood to the brain, temporarily improving alertness and clarity of thought. This feels good, and so they keep doing it even when it causes dental problems.

Ice Versus Your Teeth

Our teeth are not designed to crunch against solid ice, and they are particularly not designed to chew through several trays of ice cubes a day. Doing this can destroy tooth enamel over time, not just because ice is hard but because it’s cold. The enamel expands and contracts due to these extreme temperature changes, creating tiny cracks in it and making it much weaker, just like pavement in snowy climates. All of this leaves the teeth painfully sensitive to hot and cold and far more vulnerable to cavities.

The texture of the ice can also cause injuries to gum tissue, which you may not even notice because of the numbing effect of the cold, and sometimes the ice can actually chip or break a tooth!

Breaking The Ice Eating Habit

The first step to kicking the ice eating habit is to find out what’s causing it. If the ice chewing is a symptom of anemia, getting iron supplements may eliminate the cravings, so it will be much easier to stop. If it’s pica, there are interventions to explore such as therapy and medication.

There’s also plenty you can do on your own. You can replace the crunchy texture of ice with baby carrots or apple chunks. If you struggle to give up the ice altogether, try letting slivers of ice melt on your tongue like candy rather than crunching on them. This will spare your teeth and gums from the damage of chewing the ice.

Your Dental And Health Care Professionals Can Help

If ice chewing is something you struggle with, make sure to schedule appointments with your doctor and dentist. Iron deficiency can cause a number of other problems besides triggering ice cravings, and it’s important to get diagnosed and treated before it gets worse, particularly for pregnant women.

Now go put that ice-chewing habit on ice!

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.
Posted in Blog, Dental Posts, General Dental, Pediatric
New Patient Offer

Free Smile Virtual Consult

How it works:

  1. Upload a smile selfie
  2. Tell Dr. Behner what you’re hoping to achieve
  3. Receive your personalized consultation video from Dr. Behner

Get Started

Contact Us

NAME:

EMAIL:

PHONE:

MESSAGE:

View our privacy policy

Testimonials

Judy S.

The entire staff is so kind and considerate that over the years my anxiety has diminished. They are my "dental family". Just had an extraction and cannot imagine a better dentist!

—Judy S.

Dental Care Today PC - E. Dale Behner DDS
5.0
2018-08-28T12:44:12+00:00

—Judy S.

The entire staff is so kind and considerate that over the years my anxiety has diminished. They are my "dental family". Just had an extraction and cannot imagine a better dentist!

Cindy M.

My experince with Dr. Behner and staff seriously changed my life. I’m 52, and feared the dentist since childhood, after terrible visits. Over 5 years ago, I found Dr. Behner after doing an internet search for sedation dentistry. At my first visit, even before my sedation appt., I knew I had found my dentist for life. The atmosphere, the staff, and the dentist, all give a sense of comfort and peace. I’ve never once been afraid again, and actually look forward to my appointments!

—Cindy M.

Dental Care Today PC - E. Dale Behner DDS
2018-08-28T12:44:23+00:00

—Cindy M.

My experince with Dr. Behner and staff seriously changed my life. I’m 52, and feared the dentist since childhood, after terrible visits. Over 5 years ago, I found Dr. Behner after doing an internet search for sedation dentistry. At my first visit, even before my sedation appt., I knew I had found my dentist for life. The atmosphere, the staff, and the dentist, all give a sense of comfort and peace. I’ve never once been afraid again, and actually look forward to my appointments!

Leslee D.

I had put off having dental work because of anxiety. I’m so glad to have been referred to Dr. Behner many years ago. Being able to have IV sedation enabled me to get the work done that was needed. Dr. Behner and his staff are so understanding. My bite is better due to crowns and I’m no longer in pain. Thank you, Dr. Behner. I no longer “dread” the dentist.

—Leslee D.

Dental Care Today PC - E. Dale Behner DDS
2018-08-28T12:44:35+00:00

—Leslee D.

I had put off having dental work because of anxiety. I’m so glad to have been referred to Dr. Behner many years ago. Being able to have IV sedation enabled me to get the work done that was needed. Dr. Behner and his staff are so understanding. My bite is better due to crowns and I’m no longer in pain. Thank you, Dr. Behner. I no longer “dread” the dentist.

Jeanie M.

I know I need some extra pats and such to get me ready, and they always have been there to smile and reassure me! It’s extremely embarrassing to have so much fear but they are there not judging by comforting me!

—Jeanie M.

Dental Care Today PC - E. Dale Behner DDS
2018-08-28T12:44:48+00:00

—Jeanie M.

I know I need some extra pats and such to get me ready, and they always have been there to smile and reassure me! It’s extremely embarrassing to have so much fear but they are there not judging by comforting me!

Pat S.

Dr's Behner and Pence provide an outstanding service and I am glad they are my dentist. Their staff is awesome also.

—Pat S.

Dental Care Today PC - E. Dale Behner DDS
2018-08-28T12:45:00+00:00

—Pat S.

Dr's Behner and Pence provide an outstanding service and I am glad they are my dentist. Their staff is awesome also.

Greg M.

Dr. Behner runs a fantastic and very professional practice. His Dental Hygienist did a wonderful and pain-free cleaning. Always an excellent experience!

—Greg M.

Dental Care Today PC - E. Dale Behner DDS
2018-08-28T12:45:12+00:00

—Greg M.

Dr. Behner runs a fantastic and very professional practice. His Dental Hygienist did a wonderful and pain-free cleaning. Always an excellent experience!

Harry B.

Dr. Behner and his staff and just the best. They are worth my families 1-hour drive!

—Harry B.

Dental Care Today PC - E. Dale Behner DDS
2018-08-28T12:45:22+00:00

—Harry B.

Dr. Behner and his staff and just the best. They are worth my families 1-hour drive!
5
1
DENTAL CARE TODAY PC -
E. DALE BEHNER DDS

If you are searching for an Indianapolis dentist to provide cosmetic dentistry, sedation dentistry, or dental implants, Dr. E. Dale Behner is here for you! Call today to schedule an appointment if you are in the area, including Fishers and Carmel. Dental Care Today PC - E. Dale Behner DDS
9744 Lantern Rd
Fishers, IN 46037
Call: 317-842-2337317-842-2337 DrBehner@dentalcaretoday.com
Write a Review
Review Us on Google Review Us on Facebook Review Us on Angies List
Connect With Us
Top 10 dentists in Fishers, IN
Dr. Elton D. Behner, DDS has been awarded as a top Dentistry practice with some of Fishers's best Dentists.
Verified by Opencare.com


Financing options for Indianapolis dentist Dr. Behner
Make A Payment
NagiosCheckValue - Do not remove please