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Molly Maloof, MD

Director of Clinical Content

How does chewing ice affect your teeth?

(13) Upvoted
My mother has always told me chewing ice is bad for my teeth, but could never provide an explanation. Thanks for your help!

Featured Answer

(4) Upvoted
Chewing is a mechanical process, subject to mechanical principles. Teeth are designed to bare load and resist pressure. However, if we place too much load on the teeth there can be fracturing. Ice is a very hard substance and can over load the ability of our teeth to withstand the force of chewing it. You may not notice that there is any effect until small micro fractures progress to the point that a part of the tooth fails and there is missing tooth structure or pain. It is always good to listen to your mother.
(1) Upvoted
Ice is a very hard substance and can cause small cracks to form in your teeth which could lead to decay and even fractured teeth!. Michael A Schneider DMD
(1) Upvoted
Ice chewing, or for that matter, chewing anything very hard & brittle such as ice, hard candy, popcorn kernels, or the like, will cause micro-cracks in the outer enamel surface of the teeth.
The same little crack lines that begin in the ice, also propagate in the enamel.
As this progresses, it leads to tooth fracture.
(1) Upvoted
Dear patient! I always recommend our patient not to chew on ice, since ice can fracture your teeth. Of course, don't think this will never happen to you because I have seen many teeth crack from years of chewing ice/hard things, even teeth without fillings! This even happened to our office manager! If the fracture extend down to the root, then there is nothing can be done to fix the tooth and will need to be removed. Your teeth may already have small micro-fractures and you are not even aware of it from years of chewing. Best to avoid chewing ice or extra hard things or use your teeth to open bottle caps to prevent future unnecessary dental treatments and costs! All the best to you! -- Lisa Wu DMD
Chewing ice will affect the hard enamel of the teeth and causes multiple microcracks which in turn will cause sensitivity for the teeth. Keep in mind that very cold or very hot food or beverages alone also will create small shoks to the teeth. if you do have any restorative fillings or crowns, shrinkage and expansions due to thermal changes may cayse failure of their purpose.
Hi Daniel,

Because ice is hard, it can cause teeth to crack or shatter. Because the temperature of our teeth(warm) and the temperature of ice(cold), the ice can put microfractures on teeth. Teeth can split in half or can crack.