What Happens If You Swallow Ice? (Drawback and Disadvantages)

what happens if you swallow ice

Pica is a special word used to describe the condition of people who have strong wishes to chew or eat a substance that has no nutritive value like ice, paper, soil, or wood. Pagophagia or a craving for eating ice is the same thing that may start due to a deficiency of iron. You may inquire about your eating habits ice. 

What happens if you swallow ice? Swallowing ice in small amounts has no bad effects but eating it in large amounts and regular consumption may lead to Pagophagia, which is a strong desire to eat ice every time. It may be due to iron deficiency in pregnant women or linked to some stress.

We all eat or use ice in our life span but its irregular consumption may cause some serious health issues. Let’s discuss all pros and cons of using ice.  

What Happens If You Swallow Ice

Ice is just frozen water and has no nutritional importance but some people love to eat it. A small piece has no danger but if you want to swallow a big size cube without breaking it, it will get caught in your throat

But it is right for ice to go down the stomach and reduce its temperature. You feel cold for some time but your body will equalize in a few minutes. 

What Happens If You Swallow Ice Cubes

Regular eating of ice but in variable amounts may damage your teeth. Teeth become sensitive and sometimes cracks on the enamel are observed. Sharp and irritating edges of ice can produce infection in your gums and they may be swollen. Thus dentists strictly forbid the chewing of ice for oral health

What Happens When You Swallow Ice Whole

Accidentally if a larger piece of ice is wedged into your windpipe, you may face some problems.

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Crises exist until all the ice melted in a few minutes. When ice melts it becomes slippery enough and slides into the lungs through your trachea. They lead to a massive coughing

It’s not the last thing that ice melts and water travels down through the trachea, trouble is not averted. Now you have to aspirate that fluid along with bacteria freezes during the freezing process of ice and reduce the risk of pneumonia.

what happens when you swallow ice

6 Reasons Behind Eating Ice/Pagophagia

There is always a reason behind every deed. Some reasons are more logical and impressive while some are very insignificant. So, now we investigate the things behind the Pagophagia. Let’s begin with; 

  1. Stress

Sometimes people could not manage stress and it appears in pica. Unconsciously eating, non-eating stuff makes them psychic. Don’t worry cognitive-behavioral therapy(CBT) may help you with Pagophagia due to stress, OCD, or any mental issue

This therapy includes positive and negative reinforcement or counseling. 

  1. For Losing Extra Weight

Sometimes doctors suggest eating an ice to burn calories. This is referred to as an ice diet. People eat ice to reduce their weight.

Perhaps it works but it also creates some other problems like sensitive teeth and infections of the oral cavity.

  1. Iron Deficiency 

Most researchers linked pagophagia with iron deficiency. Iron deficiency is the major cause of anemia. It is an essential metal in building red blood cells. Less oxygen supply will create a lot of problems

Interesting research reveals that chewing ice triggers strange effects in iron-deficient people. More blood migrates toward the brain. This oxygen gives new life to the anemic brain may lead to alertness and clearness of thinking

  1. Calcium Deficiency

Calcium deficiency is another reason behind the habit of eating ice. Mineral deficiency triggered eating disorders.

  1. Eating Disorder

The eating disorder starts due to a lack of nutrients. People with an eating disorder often chew ice because their body wants to fulfill their need. Instead of taking a balanced diet, they filled their stomach with unnecessary stuff.

  1. Xerostomia

Xerostomia or dry mouth is another reason for pagophagia. A person with a dry mouth unconsciously eats ice to moisturize his mouth. It is necessary to treat dry mouth.

The Complication of Eating Ice

Every bad habit has its end. These create some complications which should be better treated.

Dental Problems

Your teeth could not tolerate eating bags or trays of ice every day. Over time teeth enamel is completely or partially destroyed

  • Our tooth enamel is the most emphatic part of the teeth. It protects the inner layers of teeth.
  • Ice erodes this layer and makes it highly sensitive to hot or cold things. Cavities are also produced after spoiling the enamel.
  • harming the braces or filling
  • Infection of gums that make it sensitive
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Anemia and Other Blood Problems

A big reason behind pagophagia is an iron deficiency that produces some gigantic health issues. These issues become more serious if not treated properly. These are

  • Pale skin color
  • Uneven heartbeat
  • Change the size of the heart
  • Low immunity and frequently occurring infections
  • Pregnancy difficulties such as premature babies
  • Reduced the growth of children


Craving ice is so strong and you may push all useful diets off. It produces malnutrition. The habit of eating disorders increases the chance of malnutrition. Be alert and leave this bad habit for your health. 

What to do If You Eat Dry Ice

Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. It is the coldest thing you may consume. It freezes at 

 -78 Celsius. Dry ice can freeze the tissue of the hand which holds it. It can freeze your mouth, food pipe, and even stomach.

When it melts it produces carbon dioxide gas, therefore, the name Dry Ice.

A more prominent risk is the accumulation of Carbon-dioxide in your stomach. It bloats your stomach and produces extreme pain and digestive disorder.

What Happens If You Eat Ice Cube During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, if you have a strong desire to eat ice for more than one month, consult a doctor. It is a big sign of mineral deficiency. Vitamin and mineral deficiency can compel you to consume ice regularly. If you are not treated it properly it will cause

  • Produce complications in pregnancy
  • Premature birth
  • Pale skin and difficulty in breathing
  • Started the growth of baby 

What Happens If You Eat Ice every day/Eating Too Much Ice

Daily consumption of ice makes you ill and shows an emotionally disturbed life. Fascinating ice eating reduces the balance uptake of diet. It produces the symptoms of malnutrition. It may damage your quality of life. Pagophagia reduces the life of your teeth and destroys oral health 

Can Swallowing An Ice Cube Kill You

No, surely an ice cube can not kill you. If these are bigger they may tangle in your esophagus or sometimes be stuck in the trachea but in both cases, it is not a possible death agent. Because it will melt and disappear after some time.

What Happens If You Eat Ice Cream Everyday

Ice cream is tasty but full of calories. It contains added sugar, saturated fats, and artificial taste. According to nutritionists, such food should be taken in moderate amounts. Daily eating of ice cream replaces a useful and balanced diet creates chronic conditions such as obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes

What Happens If You Eat Expired Ice Cream

Ice cream that has been melted and refrozen can increase the chances of growth of bacteria and decompose it faster. An expired and spoiled ice cream causes food poisoning, stomach cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.

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What Happens If You Eat Ice Pack Gel

Is the gel in ice packs toxic? The ice pack gel is non-toxic and biodegradable material kept in a freezer. This is a polymer of cellulose that also consists of additives like preservatives sodium chloride, mineral, dye, or water.

The small amount of reusable ice-pack ingestion produces slight irritation. Its large amount causes drowsiness, slow breathing, and loss of consciousness.

What Happens If You Eat Ice Cream On Keto

For keto dieting, ice cream is an unfit choice. This frozen dessert increases carb count. This makes ice cream quite inappropriate for you if you are following low carb diet

What Happens If You Eat Icy Hot

Icy-Hot muscle rubs are used to soothe aches and pain in adults. They are not for eating. They can be poisonous if swallowed. It should be kept away from small children.

Its active ingredients are methyl salicylate, a medicine that has the same effect as Aspirin

Frequently Asked Questions (Faqs)

What Happens If You Eat Freezer-Burned Ice Cream?

It appears as ice begins to vaporize over time in the freezer. As water vapors leave the ice cream and blend with the air, it refreezes on the surface, creating those distasteful crunchy crystals on top, 

Eating ice cream is quite safe. It is in such a style that it changes the taste of food and texture but its eating is safe

What Happens If You Eat Ice Cream Salt?

Ice cream salt has potassium chloride, calcium chloride, and urea (carbonyl diamide). If eaten, it can irritate the digestive tract and stomach pain. These salts can also cause infection of the skin and can cause low to serious skin allergies.

What Happens If You Eat Ice Cream For Breakfast?

In Japan, during the research at Tokyo University, an interesting fact was revealed. Using ice cream for breakfast increases alertness and mental activity. Professor Yoshihiko Koga and his team work and analyzed the results that measure the brain activity after eating various food items in the morning

Bottom Lines

Eating ice is related to an eating disorder Pica. Pica is only due to nervous issues. But eating ice is also linked with a mineral deficiency that refers to pagophagia. Pagophagia is a subclass of Pica.

This habit creates not only medical problems but also some social issues. It is necessary to create awareness about this eating disorder. This article also gives you information about important side effects and its remedy for ice eating. Share your experiences about pagophagia in the comments.

James Randolph

Hey, James is here with you. This blog is a powerful online resource to help you get instant answers to your superstitious beliefs, facts, and the reality of myths. Knowledge is your inner guidance system, and this blog empowers you to update, refine, reorganize and enhance your communication system. If you know well you can surely discuss facts with evidence. So, stay with us and be a master of what happens around you!

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