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Is Munching Ice Cubes Bad?

Many like to chew or suck on ice cubes, but 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 frozen chunks of water, this is an issue not uncommon that occurs alongside with this habit.

Changes in cold temperature from a warmer temperature can undoubtedly cause discomfort, however, is most common in those already dealing with the problem of tooth sensitivity from enamel deterioration.

Additionally, chewing on ice, as it’s a frozen substance, can overtime chip away at tooth enamel and create a sensitivity one may not have experienced 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, such as nugget or “snow cone style” ice, something that is less frozen, less fine, or slushies.


Braces and other orthodontic appliances do not do well with the chewing or sucking ice habit. As you teeth shift from braces or other devices, this places pressure on the teeth, already exhibiting pain for the patient. Additional pain may come through chewing on ice.

Additionally, because braces are made of metal, ice significantly cools down the braces, and thus the teeth, potentially causing pain or 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 a breakage in orthodontic appliances or with the teeth themselves, making treatment more of a hassle as one has to set up an emergency orthodontic and dental visit for repair. This ends up costing a patient more money and possibly leading to a more extended treatment depending on the severity and 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 oral tissue, causing pain. Also, those already suffering from oral tissue trauma may deal with pain when chewing on ice, potentially risking further damage to the area.

In conclusion, ice chewers or suckers can have a variety of oral health problems at hand when it comes to their habit. Those already dealing with oral-related issues or treatments may also deal with issues or worsened problems associated with such.

It is best advised to be careful when sucking or chewing on ice, but preferably to reduce or strictly prohibit this habit altogether.

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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