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20Jan2016

Ice Cravings: A Sign Of Something More?

DO YOU EVER WONDER WHY many people enjoy chewing their leftover ice after finishing a nice refreshing drink? It may surprise you to learn that the cool crunch of the ice may not be the only thing drawing people to chew those last few cubes.

Chewing Ice Is Not Cool For Your Teeth

Many enjoy chomping down on those last few ice cubes at the bottom of their glass, but is it really that bad for your dental health? Absolutely!

Ice is an incredibly hard substance, and when pitted against teeth it can do serious damage to our enamel. Repeated grinding against ice and other hard substances can result in enamel cracking and erosion. Because enamel has no living cells, the body cannot repair any chips or cracks on its own—they will require enamel restoration treatments.

Ice Cravings May Be Caused By More Than Preference

Ice cravings are fairly common–especially among expecting mothers–but not all of these cravings are driven by enjoyment alone. The compulsive consumption of ice, known as pagophagia, has recently been linked to anemia—a lack of iron in the blood. Anemia can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. But don’t worry, if diagnosed by a doctor, anemia is easily treatable with daily iron supplements. Scientists still aren’t sure why the link between chewing ice and anemia exists, but many suspect it may the body’s natural response to relieve oral inflammation caused by anemia.

We Care About Your Whole Body Health

Excessive ice cravings affect far more than just your teeth. We care about far more than just the health of your smile! If you or someone you care about has questions about ice cravings and how they affect your health, feel free to set an appointment or leave a comment below! We’d love to work with you to ensure that not only your smile is healthy, but your whole body as well.

Thank you for being a valued patient and friend!

Top image by Flickr user Simon_sees used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 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.

Discussion

2 responses to "Ice Cravings: A Sign Of Something More?"

  • Terry says:

    What is the definition of “excessive” ice crunching? I am 65 and have long liked to eat the ice at the bottom of my glass for the temperature, texture and moisture. (I eat it crushed or wait until it has melted to an easy-to-break texture.) My blood tests have never shown anemia and the excellent Federal Hill Smiles has noted no enamel damage in my twice-a-year regular visits. So, does that mean I am not “excessive”?

    • Dr. Markoff says:

      Hi Terry,
      No worries, as long as you wait for the ice to soften you are probably okay, but I officially have to say don’t do that. Glad to hear your blood test show no iron deficiency. Please remind us on your next visit so we pay special attention to your teeth. in relation to your habit.

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