There are several strange disorders out there and one of them is pica. This is the desire to eat items that are not really food. This disease usually affects people and children who have developmental issues. Among pica, pagophagia is the desire to eat ice all the time. Those who do this are often not aware that they have an issue, as they do not think that this is something to be worried about. So, is eating ice bad for you? It could be, and you should consult your physician to know if this has become an issue or not.

Is Eating Ice Bad for You?

In most instances, chewing ice has become a habit for the person. However, there can be an underlying medical condition that needs to receive treatment. For those who have the question "Is eating ice bad for you?" there are several issues that can be considered.

Severe Damage to Teeth

When you chew on the ice cubes, you are doing untold damage to your teeth. This can chip and wear the enamel, which weakens the tooth. The more ice a person eats, the more damage he is doing to his teeth. What's more, it is permanent damage.

Nutritional Issues

Those who are addicted to chewing ice will find that their bodies can suffer nutritional problems. Many people who do nothing but eating ice are often malnourished and have other health related issues.

Socially Unacceptable

This is one danger of eating ice that many people may not take seriously, but eating ice really can have some social effects on the people who do it. Many people do not like to go places with or sit near someone who constantly chewing or eating ice, so it could affect just how many friends you have.

Why Are People Addicted to Eating Ice?

Many people view eating ice or chewing ice to be nothing more than a habit. However, there are several reasons why a person may eat ice.

Iron Deficiency Anemia

A person should have at least 8 to 18 milligrams of iron in their diet daily. Studies have found that those who have this level of iron are less likely to have a craving for ice. Those who have low iron are often found to be munching on ice. However, it is not sure why the low iron makes a person crave ice. Many studies have suggested that the ice may help to reduce tongue swelling and burning which are often associated with low iron levels.


There are many people who eat ice as a way to keep from eating other foods in an effort to lose weight. The person will eat the ice in between meals as a way to suppress the appetite. However, there have been no studies that show this technique actually helps in losing weight.

Habit or Obsession

Eating ice is often nothing more than a habit for people who simply want to have something in their mouth to chew on. This can become an obsession when a person finds that he can no longer do other things for wanting to chew on ice.


Cool ice can relieve the nausea feeling caused by food poisoning, motion sickness, pregnancy or influenza. It can also prevent dehydration. This is why some patients want to eat ice, but for nausea relief, you'd better let the ice melt in the mouth instead of chewing it.

What Should You Do If You Are A Compulsive Ice Chewer?

For those who find that they are chewing ice constantly and many times without thinking, chances are they have low iron. This will require to see the doctor in order to get this tested and to figure out the best method to solve this issue. Those who did correct their iron levels often find that the desire to chew ice is gone. If low iron is not the problem, other issues may be dry mouth or simply a habit due to boredom.

If your habit becomes an obsession, it is important to take care of this in order to avoid it interfering with your life. This will require the help of a medical professional who knows what could be signals of this type of compulsive behavior and how to treat it.


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  • Trina B.Jan.19 13:29
    I Am 41 Years Old & My Ice Addiction Started When I Was Pregnant With My Children, However My Youngest Is Now Gonna Be 9 In Feb & I'm Still Eating Ice Everyday As if It Were Nothing, & Not Just 2-3 Cups, I Have 8 Ice Cube Trays In My Freezer & It's To the Point Where I Fill Up Gatorade Bottles & Bring Them To Work With Me, I Have Not Seen A Dr. In Several Years, So I Do Not Know For Sure If I'm Anemic Or Not, I Can Only Assume, But It's So Hard To Stop When It's Something I Crave Everyday/All day....
  • I love eating ice but I eat it according to its availability....after school then before i sleep. Those two add up to about 36 cubes a day, it isn't as severe as the other situations I've read about however, is it a habit / disorder? I am a singer and my mom doesn't take kindly to me eating ice because the temperature isn't suitable for my vocal chords. If it helps, I've had an intense nail biting issue ever since i was two and I turned 14 less than two weeks ago and this started about four to five months back. I'm slightly convinced i'ts due to the weather because I live in Jamaica...but I've lived here all my life. Can anyone tell me why I do this and how I can stop?
  • VenusJan.19 06:36
    I eat 6-8 44 oz cups of ice a day. Can't live without it!
  • Amy Dec.29 10:24
    I'm almost positive that this is an addiction. It calms me when I'm stressed or nervous, if I don't have it I'm like a ticking bomb I literally can not go a day with out. I've tried. Longest I've went is like 4 hours I even wake up in my sleep 2-4 times to eat a cup of ice and then I go back to sleep.
  • Sharon ArthurDec.22 21:44
    I just started craving maybe 3 months ago, but I have to have that eating ice like three big cups a day I can't stop...
  • CarolynDec.14 17:25
    Hey I am an ice eater. I am talking liquid iron now cause my doctor said my iron is low. But for some reason I still crave ice. Can you tell me why is that.
  • Tonya HarringtonDec.4 03:35
    I am a nurse, a retired senior citizen and I started eating ice chips about 2 years ago. My husband says its because i'm sexually frustrated, but I read a research article on that subject and it's not true even though Sigmund said so. I am not pregnant, nor will I ever be, and I do not suffer from anemia. I have damaged my teeth from the habit, but I just like the way the ice feels in my mouth and I love a good hardy crunch of a ice chip, or potato chips, cookies and such. I started because I'm not a big fan of drinking water and I suffer from dehydration so I started using ice. You know water is frozen H2O, so why does it change the effects when it's in the ice form? I'll have to look up a study on that one. Even when I teach OB nursing the pica eating is covered and ice is the pica of choice and the effects of anemia with the ice, I still do not understand how it changes in the body from water, it is water just frozen. I love ice chewing but right now I have the ability to stop, but not the desire.
  • DeridereNov.18 00:05
    I am 48yrs old and I simply have to have my crushed ice from Valero, however I am severely anemic. Since reading the studies on how ice affects your teeth, I am really going to try to stop! Any suggestions, because without it I'm one cranky lady??
  • HollyNov.9 02:03
    I'm 22 years old and I'm pretty sure I'm addicted to eating ice. But I can't be just any ice, it has to be ice from Casey's! I eat 2-3 32oz cups of ice A DAY. It started when I was 30 weeks pregnant with my son... he's almost 7 months old now and the craving hasn't gone away. I eat it at home, at work, in the car.... I make my fiancé stop anytime we go by a Casey's just so I can get at least 2 cups of ice. I feel like I HAVE to have it. I've been smoking since I was 11.. and if I HAD to choose between smoking or ice, I think I'd choose ice. I had low iron when I was pregnant, but I don't know if I do now or not.
  • AureliaOct.27 07:24
    I'm 30yrs I always eat 2-3 trays of ice cubes a day and I can't get pregnant. I would like to know why because I don't even use birth control or anything please help.
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