Consuming ice may seem harmless, but when it becomes an obsessive habit, you can cause serious injury to yourself. The obsessive chewing of ice is called pagophagia, it is a modification of an eating disorder in which a person wants non-food objects (for example, hair, glue, dirt and so on). This can be a sign of many very serious physical, mental and emotional illnesses that can have long-term effects on your well-being. Here are seven reasons why you need to stop gnawing ice.

1. Your tooth enamel can crack
Many people don’t know that the habit of gnawing ice can have a large number of damaging effects. It can lead to wear and tear of the enamel which can cause microcracks. Those microcracks can enlarge and even lead to a tooth fracture. This condition can be so serious that you may need a tooth implant or dental crown to fix the cracked tooth.

2. You can get a gum infection
If you are fond of gnawing ice, there is a high risk of biting a sharp piece of it. It could pierce your gums or other soft tissues and lead to infection and other serious problems with the gums. But if you actually need to munch something, try to chew sugarless gum. This will refresh your breath and will be much softer on your teeth. You can also try to let the pieces of ice melt in your mouth or gnaw foods like carrots or apples. This method can help to satisfy the need to consume ice.

3. You could neglect a mineral deficiency
Gnawing or eating something that has no nutritional value (like ice) can be the result of iron deficiency anemia. There are still no studies that would prove this connection for sure, but one study showed that it can keep people more active. Ice gnawing is also common in people who are suffering from autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Doctors usually examine people with eating disorders to find out whether they have anemia.

4. You can get tooth decay and sensitivity
Chewing ice can result in tooth damage that extends beyond the enamel. This also includes teeth cracks and fractures, issues with dental crowns and fillings, and even jaw muscle pain. Many people also assume that their teeth become very sensitive to hot and cold food and drinks, so gnawing ice also means that you may become more likely to develop tooth decay.

5. You’re trying to cope with stress
If you noticed that the desire to gnaw on ice cubes appears when you are nervous, it can be your personal stress relief method. This habit can be a way to reduce stress for some people, but it can be a major sign of a more serious illness. There are a lot of ways to eliminate stress such as music and walking. Even a piece of chocolate would do less harm to your health.

6. You’re falling into an eating disorder
There are a lot of people that are trying to keep a strict diet. In order to keep their mouthes busy, they gnaw on ice. The main problem is that you don’t get the necessary amount of calories. This condition can lead to serious malnutrition which can cause severe damage to your organs, bones, and brain.

7. Your trying to soothe an inflammation
Some problems with nutrition can cause inflammation of the tongue or gums. You may think that gnawing ice can eliminate it, but you will have to pay for this relieve and the effect is very short-termed. It is very important to find out what causes your inflammation and eliminate it. A swollen tongue can signify much more serious conditions and it is better to make an appointment with your doctor.

Author's Bio: 

I am Amelia Grant, journalist, and blogger. I think that information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. That is why I feel a strong intention to share useful and important things about health self-care, wellness and other advice that may be helpful for people. Being an enthusiast of a healthy lifestyle that keeps improving my life, I wish the same for everyone.