How does chewing ice affect your teeth?

My mother has always told me chewing ice is bad for my teeth, but could never provide an explanation. Thanks for your help!
Replies
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
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.
Enamel is the outer most layer of the tooth, is the hardest material in your body and protects the tooth from wearing down. However, it is very brittle and it will chip and dissolve in acid such as found in a soft drink. Chewing on ice will chip or break the enamel. In serve cases, the protective layer is worn down or chipped and dentin, which is underneath the enamel and a softer material, is exposed which may cause sensitivity. It may be necessary to restore the affected tooth with full coverage such as a crown.
Remember to take good care of your teeth including regular check ups,,cleanings and good home care will give you beautiful and healthy smile! Also, consider using a straw when drinking liquids containing ice.
Chewing Ice doesnt effect your teeth unless you have large mercury fillings that could break your teeth and cause the need for crowns. IF you have no restorations and health teeth it should be of no concern.
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
The biggest problem with ice is that dental filling materials can expand and contract depending upon the temperatures they are exposed to. This can cause micro fractures in the tooth which can become cracks. A cracked tooth can become painful or break requiring a root canal, a crown or possibly even the extraction of the tooth.