Next Time You Chew Ice, Think of Your Teeth
Dental Damage and Gum Injuries
Ice is a great way to chill out on a hot summer day, but it can also do some serious damage to your teeth and gums. It’s so cold that it creates a numbing effect, which makes it difficult to notice if you’re hurting yourself. And even if you don’t, your teeth and gums will still be in danger.
Extreme Temperature Changes Versus Enamel
Tooth enamel might be the strongest substance in the body, but it’s also brittle. The issue with ice isn’t just that it’s hard, it’s also that it’s cold. Extreme temperature changes cause tooth enamel to expand and contract, creating tiny cracks and weakening the overall structure. It’s the same thing that happens to pavement in places that get snow.
Gum Injuries and Tooth Damage
Gum tissue is very sensitive and can easily tear or bruise when exposed to extreme cold temperatures like ice cubes or frozen foods like popsicles. This can lead to bleeding gums or gum recession over time if left untreated—which means losing more gum tissue than originally damaged!
Where Do the Cravings Come From?
Why crave ice if there are only downsides to chewing it? The scientific term for compulsive ice eating is pagophagia. It could indicate an eating disorder called pica (the compulsion to eat non-food items, or it could be related to iron deficiency anemia. The chill of ice stimulates blood flow, counteracting low oxygen levels in the brain, but that only treats a symptom of anemia, not the cause.
Here's the science behind why you're craving that cold cube:
When we eat something cold, our body temperature drops slightly and our metabolism slows down—this is why ice cream feels so good! But when we eat something that's really cool—like frozen water—our brain perceives this as a threat and releases dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel pleasure and also helps regulate movement between nerve cells in your brain. This means that when you eat something cold, you get a rush of pleasure and your body thinks it's being rewarded for doing something good—even though all you've done is eaten some frozen water!
In short: You might think of it as a reward system gone wrong (or right?). It doesn't matter which side of the spectrum
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.