Why Do People Chew Ice?

Do you ever find yourself craving for an ice cube on a hot summer day? Do you know anyone who chews ice constantly? Why do people chew ice?

The question “Why do people chew ice?” is most often associated with iron deficiency anemia, although it can be associated with other nutritional problems too. “Pica” is a term used by doctors to describe a person who is craving and chewing substances that do not have any nutritional value, such as ice, cornstarch, or paper.

You may ask “Why do people chew ice if this does not contain any nutritional benefit?” There is no conclusive evidence on why some people with iron deficiency crave and chew ice. However, according to a research, it was found that the craving and chewing of ice may be due to the ice’s pain-relieving characteristics. Some people with iron deficiency anemia feel relieved from tongue pain or tongue inflammation (glossitis), when chewing ice. The researchers also found that ice tasted better to some people with iron deficiency.

Another possible answer to the question “Why do people chew ice?” is the presence of emotional problem. For some individuals, pica is exhibited when they are emotionally stressed. Pica may also be a result of an obsessive-compulsive disorder or a developmental disorder. Thorough medical evaluations can help in determining the underlying causes of a person’s pica behavior. An individual who develops pica as a result of an emotional or developmental issue may be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy.

Is it true that chewing ice can damage your teeth? You might enjoy hearing the sound of ice crunching between your teeth but unless you want to spend a lot of money for the cosmetic dental repair, then you better cut the habit of ice chewing. Ice chewing can cause cracks, chips, and fracture lines in your teeth. It can even require a root canal or a tooth extraction, if worse comes to worst. Though frequent ice chewing does not always result in any of the serious effects mentioned, it will still wear down your tooth’s enamel much quicker, which can lead to cavities.

So, now that you are knowledgeable of the causes and effects of a person’s craving and chewing of ice, it is time to check your health. Are you iron deficient? If so, it’s not too late to have your iron count checked. Break the chronic ice chewing habit. Take heed and be healthy!

Posted at June 24th, 2011.

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