As the weather warms up, your child might be reaching for more ice to cool down. But parents beware: that seemingly harmless habit of chewing ice can spell trouble for your little one’s teeth.

The cold temperatures and constant crunching can lead to dental issues no one wants to deal with.

How Chewing Ice Can Damage Your Child’s Teeth

Enamel Erosion

It’s true that tooth enamel is the strongest structure in the human body, but that doesn’t mean it’s invincible. Chewing ice can cause tiny cracks in the enamel and weaken your child’s teeth over time.

Cracked Teeth

Those small enamel cracks from chewing ice can turn into bigger problems down the road. This can lead to tooth fractures that can be a real pain to fix, especially if your child has fillings. And if a filling breaks, bacteria can sneak in and cause cavities.

Tooth Sensitivity

When enamel wears down from chewing ice, it exposes the dentin underneath. This can make your child’s teeth super sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks.

No one wants to deal with a mouthful of pain every time they eat or drink something!

Read Also: Ouch! Your Child Might be Dealing with Tooth Sensitivity

Dental Emergencies

In some cases, a cracked tooth from ice chewing can cause extreme pain that can’t wait. That’s not exactly a fun trip to the dentist for you and your child.

Read Also: 5 Tips to Prevent Dental Emergencies in Children

Helping Your Child Kick the Chewing Habit

Tooth-Friendly Alternatives to Satisfy the Urge

Instead of chewing on ice, offer your child some tasty alternatives that won’t damage their teeth. Crunchy fruits and veggies like apples, carrots, and celery can do the trick. Nuts and sugar-free gum are also great options to keep their mouths busy without the risk of tooth damage.

Rewarding Your Child’s Ice-Free Journey

Positive reinforcement can go a long way in helping your child break the ice chewing habit. Give them plenty of praise for choosing tooth-friendly snacks and offer rewards (that are NOT candy please!) for going ice-free.

A little encouragement can go a long way in melting away that urge to chew on ice.

When Chewing Ice Could Signal Something More

In some cases, the habit of chewing and eating non-food items, such as dirt and paper, including ice, can be a sign of an underlying health condition called pica.

If your child is constantly tired, irritable, or has pale or yellow skin along with their ice crunching habit, it may be time to talk to your pediatrician.

Sometimes pica is a behavior that has an unknown cause. Other times, pica can be a symptom of underlying iron deficiency anemia.

Regardless of your child’s chewing habits, regular dental check-ups are crucial for maintaining their oral health. These visits allow your pediatric dentist to monitor your child’s dental development and provide personalized care.

At Lafayette Pediatric Dentistry, we understand the importance of your child’s oral health and strive to provide the highest quality dental care in a stress-free environment.

If you’re looking for a reliable, compassionate, and experienced pediatric dental team serving Lafayette, Broussard, Youngsville, Breaux Bridge, Carencro, and the surrounding areas, look no further than Lafayette Pediatric Dentistry.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services.