Some people chew ice when they’re bored, some people do it subconsciously, and there’s a rather niche group of people that does it just because they like it. If you’re a person that does this act, be warned: it’s not healthy.

What’s Wrong with Chewing Ice?

Let’s be clear here: softer, crushed ice, the kind that comes in snow cones? That’s not part of this discussion. After all, there’s hardly any chewing involved with that yummy treat anyway. We’re talking about ice cubes commonly found in glasses of water, soda, or even alcoholic drinks on the rocks.

The American Dental Association points out that chewing ice is one of the worst habits there is because of the way it damages teeth. For whatever reason, chewing ice will negatively affect the layer keeping your teeth protected from decay: the enamel. Imagine the decay and damage you’re risking your teeth just by chewing ice.

It’s particularly dangerous to chew ice when there’s been dental restoration work involved, like braces or fillings. That will exacerbate whatever existing damage there is. It can also bring about a bill for pricey repairs that could have been avoided completely.

Read on to learn more about how damaging chewing ice can be and why you just shouldn’t do it, even if you enjoy it.

  • The Tooth Enamel Will Be Damaged Considerably

As previously mentioned, the tooth enamel can and will end up getting weakened when chewing ice. Weakening the tough, key point of defense your teeth have against decay is not ideal. It’s not just the teeth that end up at risk when tooth enamel is damaged; the entire oral hygiene of a person, gums included, gets affected.

Forcing two very hard surfaces together (in this case, the enamel and the ice) will lead one of them to break. It’s generally the ice that breaks, but it’s a pretty close 50/50 split situation wherein it’s the tooth that takes the hit. 

  • Your Gums Will Get Affected

Normally, gums recede when there’s gum disease, a traumatic injury, or as a result of genetics. The pressure that comes with chewing ice can lead to gum recession. It means that the tooth’s root is exposed, leading teeth to be far more sensitive. Eating food will then become an uncomfortable experience, no matter what kind of food it is.

  • You’ll Have Chipped Teeth

Chipped teeth aren’t just caused by chewing ice; a person can chip their tooth just as much on hard candy or popcorn. This can lead to a number of complications if not addressed. Chipped teeth are more prone to infection and cavities since the tooth’s inner structure is fully exposed.


Under any circumstances, chewing ice is decidedly bad for a person’s teeth. It leaves a person’s teeth vulnerable to damage, and if there are fillings or braces involved, it will lead to a need for costly repairs. The latter also signifies a delay in the healing process of the fillings or braces meant to improve your teeth in the first place. Negative effects include chipped teeth, gum recession, and considerable damage to the tooth enamel.

Do you need to have your teeth checked by a dentist in Chattanooga, TN? Reach out to Shallowford Family Dental today! Our team has 75 years of combined dental experience, working out of our state-of-the-art, modern facility. Schedule an appointment today.

Contact Us

Contact us online and we'll get back to you as soon as possible! Thanks!

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt