Is it bad to eat ice?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “is it bad to eat ice?” with an in-depth analysis of whether it is bad or not to eat ice. Moreover, we are going to discuss the causes of Pagophagia. 

Is it bad to eat ice?

It is bad to eat ice. It is one of the top nine items, according to the American Dental Association, that can harm your teeth. 

When you chew ice, you run the risk of damaging your tooth enamel and developing cavities. They can also result in damaged fillings or braces.

What is Ice craving called?

An extreme ice-chewing urge is known as pagophagia. If you frequently have the urge to chew on ice cubes, ice chips, or even frost from your freezer, you may have pagophagia.

Pica is a kind of pagophagia. Pica is the desire to eat unhealthy substances like dirt or paper. You have a specific sort of pica called pagophagia if your craving is for ice.

It’s not pagophagia if you occasionally enjoy crunching on ice crystals that are still in your drink from the soda machine. Ice-chewing only develops into pagophagia when the urge to do so is strong and persistent.

You can suffer from pagophagia if you have a strong desire to chew on ice. This is frequently brought on by inadequate nutrition. Regularly chewing on ice can harm your teeth and be an indication of a serious health issue.

What are the Consequences of Pagophagia?

Ice chewing is the primary pagophagia symptom. Ice cubes, shaved ice, broken ice, or frost are frequently chewed by those who have pagophagia.

You may also experience some of the following signs and symptoms if you have pagophagia:

  • Fatigued with pale and dry skin
  • Fast heartbeat, painful tongue, and headache
  • Depression 
  • Dizziness 

The symptoms mentioned above aren’t brought on by chewing ice, though. Anemia is a common underlying cause of pagophagia and is linked to these symptoms.

What are the Causes of Pagophagia?

Following are the causes of pagophagia. 

  • Iron deficiency
  • Lack of calcium.
  • Eating problems.
  • Mouth arid
  • Concerns with development and mental health.
  • Malnutrition.
  • A complication of anemia. 
  • Pagophagia treatments

Iron deficiency

The most frequent cause of pagophagia is iron insufficiency, often known as iron deficiency anemia. In one study, 16% of those who had iron deficiency anemia confessed to having a strong urge to chew on ice. ‌

People who suffer from iron deficiency anemia have solid reasons to enjoy chewing on ice. People with an iron deficiency can feel more alert and cognitively sharp by chewing on ice.

Lack of calcium.

The most typical dietary deficiency linked to pagophagia is low iron levels, while low calcium levels can also cause the illness.

Eating problems.

An eating issue may be the cause of a desire to chew on ice. Your body may be craving nutrients that it is deficient in if this is the case. Other than pica, people with eating disorders may frequently chew on ice to feel full without consuming any calories.

Mouth arid

You might get into the habit of chewing ice to preserve moisture in your mouth if you suffer from xerostomia, often known as dry mouth.

Concerns with development and mental health.

Stress, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and developmental abnormalities are among the additional reasons for pagophagia.


Pagophagia might result in malnutrition if it has forced other foods off your plate in favor of your ice hunger. If your eating disorder is your main contributing factor to your ice chewing behavior, your risk of malnutrition rises.

A complication of anemia. 

The most typical cause of pagophagia, iron deficiency anemia, can have significant consequences if left untreated.

One’s complications are:

  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Expanding heart
  • Problems related to pregnancy, such as early birth
  • Higher infection rates
  • Children’s growth and developmental delays

Pagophagia treatments

You must address the underlying cause of pagophagia.

Treatment will depend on how severe your anemia is if iron deficiency is the root cause of your pagophagia.

Options for treatment include:

  • consuming more iron-rich foods like eggs, leafy greens, and fortified pieces of bread will help you get more iron in your diet.
  • Either over-the-counter or prescribed iron infusions are forms of iron supplementation.
  • transfusions of blood

Your symptoms should swiftly improve with appropriate care. You’ll notice that your appetite for ice has diminished even before your hemoglobin levels increase. Red blood cells that deliver oxygen throughout your body are measured by hemoglobin. You may have an iron deficit if your level is low.

CBT can assist if your pagophagia is brought on by an eating disorder, stress, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

If dry mouth is what’s causing your pagophagia, consider switching from ice to sugar-free chewing gum instead. This will prevent damage to your teeth and promote salivation. Several dry mouth treatments can boost salivation depending on the cause.

Stick to shaved ice or little, mostly melted pieces if you can’t help but chew on ice while you try to find the source of your pagophagia. Your teeth will be less harmed by this than by larger cubes or chunks.

Your body may be trying to communicate with you if you find yourself repeatedly chewing on ice throughout the day. By addressing the root of your ice cravings, you may safeguard both your teeth and your health.


In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “is it bad to eat ice?” with an in-depth analysis of whether it is bad or not to eat ice. Moreover, we discussed the causes of Pagophagia. 


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