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Is Munching Ice Cubes Bad?

Many like to chew or suck on ice cubes. In fact, some even crave ice.

But unfortunately, this habit can be harmful to one’s oral health.

If ice cubes are hurting your teeth, there are a few problems associated with this, including:

Tooth sensitivity

Whether one already has tooth sensitivity or develops such due to consistent chewing or sucking on ice, tooth sensitivity can be quite painful.

Cold or hot temperatures can undoubtedly cause discomfort for those with tooth sensitivity. However, dealing with tooth sensitivity is most common in those already dealing with such from enamel deterioration.

Nevertheless, chewing on ice, as it’s a frozen substance, can overtime chip away at tooth enamel. In turn, this can create a sensitivity one may never had beforehand.

Brittle teeth

Those with a weaker bone structure may exhibit pain from chewing on ice cubes. Additionally chewing ice can also bring on fragile teeth due to the pressure one must place when chewing the hard substance.

For this reason, it is safer to either avoid ice altogether or to chew on ice that is softer and fine such as nugget or “snow cone style” ice. Large ice cubes as expected, however, are the absolute worst for your teeth.


Braces and other orthodontic appliances do not do well with the chewing or sucking ice habit. As your teeth shift from braces or other devices, this places pressure on the teeth. For many braces wearers, pain and discomfort are not uncommon. Unfortunately, additional pain may arise with chewing on ice.

Additionally, because braces are made of metal, ice significantly cools down the braces, and thus the teeth. This alone can cause discomfort in the person chewing or sucking on the ice.

Ice, in general, is not advised for those wearing braces as the pressure of chewing alone can cause the teeth or orthodontic appliance to break. As a result, this can make treatment more of a hassle as one has to set up an emergency orthodontic visit for repair. This ends up costing a patient more money and possibly leading to longer treatment time depending on the severity of the breakage when the patient can get the restoration completed.

Trauma to oral tissue

With the sharpness of ice, it is not uncommon for ice chewers to develop trauma to their oral tissue, causing pain. Those already suffering from oral tissue trauma may deal with further pain or damage when chewing on ice.

Again, a good solution to this would be to opt for softer, finer forms of ice. Better yet, reduce or completely eliminate the act of chewing or sucking on ice altogether.

In conclusion, ice chewers or suckers can have a variety of oral health problems at hand due to their habit. Those already dealing with oral health issues or those with orthodontic appliances, however, may deal with further discomfort from chewing or sucking ice.

That said, it is best to be careful when sucking or chewing on ice. But preferably, reducing or strictly prohibiting this habit completely is safest.

Disclaimer: The oral health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. Hawaii Family Dental strongly recommends to always consult licensed dentists or other qualified health care professionals for any questions concerning your oral health.

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