Is Eating Ice Bad For Your Stomach?

Is Eating Ice Bad For Your Stomach

Is eating ice bad for your stomach and teeth? Most people want to know if this ice eating habit is healthy or not. Adding a few cubes to chill a drink before consuming it is a normal practice. However, some people have an unusual pattern of chewing or sucking on ice to cool down their temperature or to feel reinvigorated. People with dry mouth problems suck ice to stimulate saliva production.
When constant craving for ice cubes become a habit, it can be unhealthy for a person’s teeth, and may also indicate primary medical condition.
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What Causes Ice Cravings?

There are some medical conditions that may possibly be responsible for a person developing an unusual craving to eat ice includes:
Pagophagia is an eating disorder called pica that involves an untiring yearning to eat ice continuously, sometimes lasting longer than 30 days. Pica causes an unusual cravings for foods that lacks nutrient. Pica is often linked with some psychological conditions.
Some anemia patients may also develop ice cravings, though researchers are still unable to establish a link between these two. Typical symptoms of anemia include:
  • pale skin (pallor)
  • fatigue
  • feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • swollen tongue
  • cold hands and feet
  • heart palpitations
  • breathlessness
  • chest pain
Lack of iron causes iron deficiency anemia. Recent research found that 15 of the 85 participants with iron deficiency anemia had pagophagia symptoms. Some had their ice craving symptoms reduced or completely eliminated after taking iron supplements.
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Anemia patients tends to become more active after chewing ice, according to one preliminary study. This is because it triggers an effect that conducts more blood up to the brain, thereby supplying more oxygen to the brain.
Emotional issues
People with emotional issues tends to find chewing of ice appealing. A person with stress may consider chewing on ice calming.
Nutritional problems
Ice contains no nutritional value, so people with constant ice cravings tends to be malnourished. Adding flavored syrups to shaved ice means may point to sugar cravings, which can pose a serious dietary issues.
Ice cravings can be caused by mild dehydration. The cooling and soothing effect of ice cubes can ease a dry mouth, lips, quench thirst, and lower body temperature on a warm day.

What are the Complications of Eating Ice?

Eating ice can lead to complications, which include:
Dental issues
Chewing or licking ice in large quantities can damage tooth enamel and cause cracks or chips in the teeth. This can cause pain and higher sensitivity to temperature. Constant chewing of ice may require repairing cavities and interchanging lost fillings.
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Anemia complications
The complications that anemia can cause include:
  • pregnancy complications
  • an increased risk for infections in children
  • stunted growth in children
  • heart failure
Dietary problems
People with unusual ice cravings may be eating more ice than they realize. Adding sugar or flavoring to ice can cause weight gain and other problems relating to too much sugar ingestion.
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Is Eating Ice Bad For Your Stomach?

Eating of ice can be very bad for your stomach. Unhealthy eating of ice can be a sign of pica. Ice is unlikely to cause any internal damage. But if someone who has pica consumes other non-food items, it can cause severe internal problems. Some complications of pica may include:
  • infections
  • bowel issues
  • poisoning
  • choking
  • obstructions forming in the intestine
  • tears developing in the intestine


The causal factor for ice cravings will determine the treatment administered. The treatment for pagophagia can vary since pica is a mental disorder. A medical expert may prescribed some anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications together with therapy. Those with iron deficiency anemia can take iron supplements to ease symptoms.

Wrapping Up

In a nutshell, the answer to the question, “is eating ice bad for your stomach” is yes. Eating ice is bad for your stomach, teeth, and general health. Don’t hesitate to confer with your doctor if you find yourself developing this unhealthy disorder.


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