Ever wondered why some people can’t stop sucking and chewing on the ice left over after a drink and others simply leave it? It could be more than just a habit picked up. Read our list to find out more!

1.      Inflamed gums or a toothache

When you sprain your ankle or have swelling in your knee, you will generally be encouraged to pop a cold pack on the area. This soothes the pain and reduces any further swelling. The same is true for injuries in the mouth. If you are experiencing pain or your gums are inflamed from gum disease or an abscess, you will naturally enjoy the feel of ice in your mouth and along the inflamed areas. Some people don’t even notice this is happening until they are made aware of it. If you notice this is happening to you, call us at Marriott and Hand. Inflamed gums or toothache left untreated could lead to serious issues and the need for extensive repair.

2.      Anemia

Scientists have found a link between ice cravings or the compulsive consumption of ice (pagophagia) and anemia – a lack of iron in the blood. This odd coincidence has become an increasingly documented sign across several studies. Scientists are still not entirely sure why this link occurs except perhaps to relieve inflammation in the mouth which happens when patients are deficient in iron. The cravings clear up once patients are treated with iron supplements.  If you are experiencing abnormal cravings, it might be a good idea to see your doctor.

3.      Pregnancy

Cravings are extremely common during pregnancy. Cravings for sweet foods and carbohydrates are put down to a drop in blood sugar levels, but what about ice? About 20% of pregnant women regularly report craving ice cubes which puts it at one of the most common cravings. Craving non-food items is known as Pica. This can also be presented as cravings for paper, mud and clay – weird huh! Pica is most common for children and expectant mothers and is thought to be associated with vitamin deficiencies, especially iron deficiencies. Often this is rectified after the birth of the baby. If you are craving ice while pregnant, we recommend bringing this up with your medical professional as it may be an indicator of an underlying problem.

Can chewing ice cubes damage my teeth?

While you may have an urge to eat it and it may help soothe your inflamed mouth and gums, ice can be quite damaging to your teeth. Due to the hardness and the coldness, chomping down on hard ice cubes can cause damage to your enamel and lead to cracks and chips in your teeth. It may also cause problems with existing dental work including fillings or crowns and could even cause pain and inflammation in the jaw. As such, we strongly advise against chewing on ice cubes!

At Marriott and Hand, we care about more than just your teeth and strive to provide comprehensive oral health care. If you have any questions about ice cravings or want help kicking the habit give us a call today. We will gladly help you to make the move to protect your teeth and smile.