Is Chewing Ice Bad For Your Teeth?

Do you love chewing on ice cubes like they're a crunchy snack? While it may seem harmless, chewing ice is bad for your teeth. But don't worry. We'll give you the lowdown on why ice chewing is a bad idea and how to break the habit without sacrificing the satisfaction of crunching on something.

Discover why the seemingly harmless habit of chewing ice might not be so harmless after all.

Why People Chew Ice

As you may know, chewing ice can cause damage to your teeth. But have you ever wondered why some people engage in this seemingly harmful habit? Here are five reasons people chew ice.


Sometimes, people chew ice as a way to quench their thirst. If they don't have access to water or other beverages, they may chew ice to cool down and rehydrate themselves.


Chewing ice can become a habit for some people. Most times, they may not even realize they’re doing it. It may start as a way to relieve stress or anxiety, then turn into a mindless habit they engage in regularly.

Iron Deficiency

Believe it or not, some people crave ice because they have an iron deficiency. This condition, called pica, can cause people to crave non-food items like ice, dirt, and clay.

Dental Problems

People with dental problems, such as gum disease or cavities, may chew ice to numb the pain temporarily. Unfortunately, this can worsen dental issues and cause further damage to the teeth.


Some people may simply chew ice out of boredom. They may be looking for something to do with their mouth. Sometimes, they may enjoy the texture and crunchiness of the ice.

Dangers of Ice Chewing

If you enjoy chewing ice, knowing that this habit can harm your dental health is important. Here are some dangers of ice chewing that you should be aware of:

1. Cracked Teeth

Ice is a hard substance, and chewing it can put much pressure on your teeth. Over time, this can lead to tiny cracks in your teeth, which can eventually become bigger and more serious. Cracked teeth can be painful and may require expensive dental treatment to fix.

2. Tooth Sensitivity

Chewing ice can also cause your teeth to become more sensitive. This is because the extremely cold temperature of the ice can cause tiny fractures in your tooth enamel, leading to increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.

3. Damage to Dental Work

The pressure from chewing ice can cause the dental work to become loose or crack. In the worst cases, your dental work may even fall out. So, if you have fillings, crowns, bridges, or other restorative dental work, you want to avoid chewing ice.

4. Irritated Gums

Chewing ice can also irritate your gums. The hard edges of the ice can scratch and damage your gum tissue, leading to soreness and inflammation.

5. Choking Hazard

Finally, chewing ice can be a choking hazard. Ice can break into small, sharp pieces that can be difficult to swallow. In the worst-case scenarios, it may even get stuck in your throat.

Alternatives to Ice Chewing

If you enjoy chewing ice but are looking for healthier alternatives, you're in luck! Here are some alternatives to chewing ice that can help satisfy your cravings without harming your teeth.

Drink Water

One of the main reasons people chew ice is because of dehydration. Instead of chewing ice, drink water throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated and cool.

Chew Sugar-free Gum 

Chewing sugar-free gum can give your mouth something to do without the risks of chewing ice. Plus, the chewing motion can help relieve stress and anxiety.

Crunchy Snacks 

If you enjoy the crunchiness of ice, try snacking on healthy alternatives like carrots, celery, or apples. These foods can provide the same satisfying crunch without the risk of tooth damage.

Frozen Fruits

If you enjoy the cold temperature of ice, try freezing some fruit like grapes or berries. These can be a tasty and healthy way to cool down and satisfy your cravings.

Suck on Ice Chips

If you can't resist the urge to chew ice, try sucking on ice chips instead. This can help satisfy your cravings without putting too much pressure on your teeth.

Tips for Breaking the Ice-Chewing Habit

Breaking a habit can be challenging but possible with the right mindset and strategy. If you want to break your ice-chewing habit, the following tips can help.

Identify Your Triggers

The first step in breaking any habit is to understand what triggers it. Do you tend to chew ice when stressed, bored, or thirsty? Once you identify your triggers, you can develop a plan to avoid them or find healthier ways to cope.

Find Healthier Alternatives

There are many alternatives to ice chewing that can help satisfy your cravings without harming your teeth. Experiment with the options above and find the best ones for you.

Gradually Reduce Your Intake 

If you're not ready to quit cold turkey, gradually reduce your ice-chewing intake. Start by chewing smaller pieces of ice or limiting how much you chew each day.

Keep Your Mouth Busy 

One reason people chew ice is that they enjoy the sensation of having something in their mouth. Try keeping your mouth busy with other activities. This could be activities like chewing gum or snacking on crunchy fruits and vegetables.

Get Support

Breaking a habit can be challenging. But, having support from friends, family, or a mental health professional can make a big difference. Consider joining a support group or contacting a therapist for help and guidance.

Remember, breaking a habit takes time and effort, so be patient and celebrate small victories. You can break your ice-chewing habit and protect your dental health with the right strategy and support.

Save Money on Dental Visits With Carefree Dental Today!

Carefree Dental can help you save money on dental visits, which is especially important if you're dealing with the aftermath of an ice-chewing habit.

By signing up, you can save anywhere from 15% - 50%* per visit in most instances, even if you don't have insurance. Plus, with a low monthly fee of $15.95 for singles or $19.95 for families, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that you have a cost-effective way to maintain your dental health.

So don't let the damage caused by ice chewing go untreated. Get a Carefree Dental Card and take control of your dental health today!


*Actual costs and savings vary by provider, service, and geographical area.


The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed dentist or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.


The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance, and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

Related Articles