Is your kid fond of eating ice? That shouldn’t surprise you because it is not your child alone who is obsessed with ice. Many children love chewing ice cubes, and this happens to adults and pregnant women too. While expectant women may consume ice because of cravings, the majority of adults do it so that they can relieve dryness in their mouth.
What of the kids? Have you ever wondered why your child likes eating ice? While this may seem a simple question to answer, be ready because what you are about to discover may surprise you. Keep scrolling to learn more about the causes of ice cravings in children and how you can treat the condition.
Is Ice Eating Good or Bad?
Nothing is refreshing, like scooping some ice cubes during summer. Melting some ice in a glass and drinking it helps to quench thirst. Ice is also known to relieve dryness on the mouth. However, the problem comes when your child starts chewing solid ice cubes right from the freezer.
Ice eating is a bad habit that you need to discourage because it causes various children’s health complications. The problems children are likely to experience from eating ice outweigh the benefits. So, by discouraging this habit, you will be doing your kid a big favor.
Causes of Ice Cravings in Children
The medical term used to describe the compulsive consumption of ice is Pagophagia. It is a rare eating disorder, and it may happen for varied reasons. Here is why your kid may be consuming a lot of ice:
Iron Deficiency Anemia
Some research shows that there is a connection between ice craving and iron deficiency anemia. People with less iron in the body develop the urge to chew ice. However, if they take iron supplements, the ice craving goes away.
Due to the lack of iron, there is little red blood cell formation, leading to deficiency. Red blood cells are crucial because they help in the transportation of oxygen in the body. When this crucial activity fails, a child begins to get sick.
Pica condition could be another reason why your child is consuming a lot of ice. Children with depression develop a condition known as pica. Pica is where a person craves for non-food items, and ice eating is one of them. It is more of a social rather than a physical disorder.
Since pica entails eating of non-food items, it means that consuming such things is likely to compromise the health of the kid. The child is, therefore, at a high risk of developing several health-related complications. So, ice eating is one of the habits that you need to discourage because it comes with its share of health problems.
Long Effects of Ice Eating in Children
Chewing ice may bring adverse health effects on children. So, if your kid likes eating ice, it is time to determine what is causing the habit. A condition like pica can be a hazardous condition because it can result in severe complications if it is not well managed. If it causes your child to consume ice cubes, the condition can further compel your child to take in other non-food substances, which is likely to be harmful. This may even complicate the health of your kid further.
Another long-term effect of ice eating is dental problems. Children who happen to eat ice cubes more often and in large volumes usually experience tooth problems in the long run. Some of the teeth-related conditions include pain in the jaws and severe toothache.
When it comes to iron deficiency anemia, it requires medical attention. If not well treated, it may lead to other serious health issues such as heart failure or heart enlargement. It can also lead to physical and developmental disorders among children, including infants.
Ice Eating Diagnosis
If your kid is exhibiting a compulsive ice eating habit for more than a month, you should take that child to a pediatrician. Your doctor needs to know what your child is going through. Through examination and blood testing, the doctor should establish the cause of the ice chewing habit.
The doctor may also carry out blood tests to check if there are any signs of excessive bleeding. The test result is what will determine the kind of treatment the doctor will recommend for your child.
Ice Eating Treatment
There are various types of ice eating treatment. Each treatment depends on the doctor’s diagnosis.
If your kid has compulsive ice eating habits that seem to run into months or even years, you should take that child to see a pediatrician. Pica may be a complicated condition, but it is curable. If your doctor combines therapy with some antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, it should help manage the pica condition in your kid. Also, the pediatrician may confirm that there are signs of iron deficiency. In this case, the administration of iron supplements should help alleviate this condition.
Sometimes excessive ice eating may cause teeth problems among children, and a good example is a toothache and pain in the jaw. In this case, you need to talk to a dentist to examine your kind. Early teeth diagnosis and treatment may prevent any unforeseen severe teeth and jaw damage.
While ice chewing may seem fun to children, it causes several health complications and a social misfit. Therefore, it is something that you need to monitor closely and seek medical attention before the situation gets out of hand. Visiting a health provider should help you determine the cause of the problem so that your kid can begin treatment in good time.
Now that you know that nothing good comes out of chewing ice cubes, it is time to act. Don’t just sit there with your child and assume that everything is okay. Save your child from the problems that come with ice chewing.