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Chew On This: Ice Crunching And Your Teeth

Chewing ice mindlessly is an incredibly common habit, especially during hot summer months. Unfortunately, just like many other hard foods, ice has the potential to damage teeth, enamel and gums. The American Dental Association suggests skipping ice chewing. But is it really so easy to give up an entrenched habit? We know it’s not. If you do love to crunch ice, try our 3 alternatives to ice chewing. And for long-term crunchers with tooth sensitivity, try oral care products that help make teeth less sensitive.

1. Make It Melt

Instead of crunching your way through a glass of frosty cubes, try letting them melt in your mouth slowly. You’ll still get that satisfying refreshment from the cool ice, and it will actually last longer than just chomping the entire glass.

TIP: Another option is to skip ice in beverages altogether and remove temptation to chew. Ice crunchers can also remind themselves that by skipping the ice in restaurants, they’re foregoing a certain amount of filth — ice makers are notoriously difficult to clean and often can be havens for bacteria.

2. Switch to Slush

You can also try replacing your regular cubes with softer types of ice. Go for shaved ice, slushies, or even “soft” ice, also known as nugget ice, which is slushier than the regular stuff. Make it part of your routine, and you might not even miss ice crunching!

TIP: If you find ice crunching impossible to resist, tell your dentist. Craving and chewing ice can be related to iron deficiency, and an iron supplement can help.

3. Crunch Switch

The cooling sensation of crunching ice is great, but so is the crunching. When you feel the need to crunch away, go for carrot sticks, cucumber slices, apple slices — anything nice and crisp.

TIP: There’s an additional benefit to crunching up crisp fruits and vegetables; all that chewing of fibrous material will stimulate saliva production, which acts as a natural mouthwash — and the particles of fiber will help scrub your teeth, too.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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