If you are in the habit of chewing ice, then the following information might scare you. Though this addiction may seem harmless, but studies have shown that chewing ice can cause various health issues and is an indication of an underlying medical condition.
This not-so-common habit is considered an eating disorder, which is also referred to as pagophagia (a variant of pica), in which a person craves for eating non-food items such as hair, dirt etc.
Moreover, studies have also proven that this habit can be a sign of a few serious physical, mental and emotional illnesses. We have mentioned a few health issues that may occur if you’re in the habit of eating ice.
1. Damaging tooth enamel
One of the harmful things that you can do to your teeth is damaging them by eating ice. Chewing ice can crack tooth enamel that could even lead you to need a root canal therapy.
2. It may cause gum infection
Eating a sharp piece of ice can potentially damage your gums and could result in some serious gum issues.
3. It can be a sign of anaemia
According to health experts, chewing things that have no nutritional value is a sign of anaemia. Though the exact relationship between anaemia and eating ice is not known, but a study revealed that eating ice and other nutritional-less substances helps people to stay alert when they feel lethargic or fatigued.
4. It could be linked to emotional issues
Chewing ice is also linked to a few emotional issues. Experts say that pica is related to a symptom of stress and in children, it is an obsessive-compulsion disorder, which could also hamper their growth. But in case you don’t have an iron deficiency, you should consult an expert for cognitive behavioural therapy to overcome anxiety issues.
5. It can impact tooth sensitivity
Eating ice can also damage tooth sensitivity. It could also cause sore jaw muscles and chipped teeth.
6. A method to relieve stress
You may not even notice it, but chewing ice is also a symptom that indicates you are dealing with stress. Also, eating ice could be a sign of some serious health condition, which should definitely be given urgent medical attention.
7. An ineffective way to soothe inflammation
When there is a nutritional deficiency in the body, it could also lead to an inflamed tongue and mouth. When you chew ice, you may get relief, but it is an ineffective way to treat it as it won’t last long. This situation should be dealt with medical attention as an inflamed mouth can cause serious health issues.
Contact a health expert
If you or any person you know has the habit of eating ice, it should be given urgent medical attention. Try to overcome this addiction by eating alternate foods like chewing sugar-free gum, but if it doesn’t help, see an expert.
What about sucking on ice cubes
It should be noted that sucking on ice cubes is different from chewing them. You may want to suck on ice cubes to get relief from a dry mouth or to quench thirst. This is not considered a disorder if it is not compulsive.