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Chew This: Eating Ice Cubes Is Bad For You

Do you chew the ice at the bottom of the glass? Do you know how bad it is for you?

Updated
Health News
3 min read
While mixers and blenders are perfect for crushing ice, our teeth are not (Photo: iStock altered by The Quint)

A drink is not finished until you’ve chewed all the ice cubes - is that true for you too?

All you people who get annoyed by the chomping of ice cubes, here’s some trivia: crunching on ice is a real thing with records of it dating back to the 1600s. People do it for various reasons; waiting at the bar for a refill, you love the crunch in your mouth or you’re plain bored, but one thing is for sure - ice crunching has nothing to do with sexual frustration. But when does this annoying habit become a weird disorder and does it signal a greater health problem?

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How Unhealthy Is Ice For You?

That soothing feeling of chomping down on cold ice. Especially when the weather is hot and you need to chill (Photo: iStock altered by The Quint)
That soothing feeling of chomping down on cold ice. Especially when the weather is hot and you need to chill (Photo: iStock altered by The Quint)

Abnormal ice cravings are a part of sometihng called pica - or the craving to chew something which is not food. If it is specifically ice, then it’s called pagophagia. New research now suggests that chomping on ice is not only annoying to fellow diners, it is also a sign of anemia.

Anemia is a silent killer in India and 4 out of every 5 children under the age of 3 years have some sort of an iron deficiency. Now this connect is pretty odd and scientists aren’t exactly sure why people who are deficient in iron crave ice, because there is no iron in ice cubes but some suspect that compulsive consumption of ice relieves inflammation in the mouth brought on by iron deficiencies.

Ice chewing can be a symptom of stress or something more serious like an obsessive compulsive disorder, but again, you would have to chew more than a couple of cubes to be diagnosed with something like this.

Our teeth are designed for cutting through vegetables and meats, here’s why chewing ice can be a short-term comfort with long-term consequences:

(Photo: The Quint)
(Photo: The Quint)

No one really knows why people chew ice, but dentists most certainly don’t recommend it. Ice chewing can seriously damage your teeth - the damage might not be immediately visible but it’s happening and it’s cumulative over time.

Add to that is the drastic temperature shift your teeth are exposed to when you crunch ice, which makes them more prone to cracks.

Bottomline: Chewing ice doesn’t hurt you, but if you do it too often, it can cause fractures, chipping of teeth, increase temperature sensitivity and overall decay.

Remember that tooth enamel once lost doesn’t grow back, so do yourself a favour and stop with this weird habit.

Are You Addicted To Chewing Ice? Signs:

You eat ice cubes like it’s a secret because people are constantly staring.

Starers be the haters! Nevermind them (Photo courtesy: Instagram/@TwinPeaks)
Starers be the haters! Nevermind them (Photo courtesy: Instagram/@TwinPeaks)

You get furious when the waiter clears your glass while you’re still eating the ice cubes!

Unpardonable, I say! (Photo courtesy: Tumbler/Animator Life)<i></i>
Unpardonable, I say! (Photo courtesy: Tumbler/Animator Life)

You counter the ice haters with fun facts about ice!

Like, nevermind the teeth decay but you can burn 100 calories by chewing a ton of ice! (Photo: iStock altered by The Quint)
Like, nevermind the teeth decay but you can burn 100 calories by chewing a ton of ice! (Photo: iStock altered by The Quint)

Just reading this post makes you want to run and get some ice!

BRB, running to the freezer (Photo courtesy: Instagram/@funnyjunk)
BRB, running to the freezer (Photo courtesy: Instagram/@funnyjunk)

Do you chew ice? What are your reasons? Leave your comments in the box below.

Also Read: Does Bottled Water Ever Go Bad?

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