What Are the Benefits of Chewing Ice Cubes?

Ice cubes are just frozen water, so they don't offer any special nutritive benefits. But eating ice cubes might be a convenient way to get the same benefits that water offers. Choking is a hazard, so only chew ice cubes that are broken into small enough pieces. Another alternative is to eat ice rings rather than cubes. Should you accidentally swallow an ice ring, the hole in its center increases your chances of maintaining proper airflow.

Close-up of a large ice cube being held by tongs. (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

Hydration and Cooling

Your body needs roughly eight 8-oz. glasses of water a day. This helps with various bodily processes, including transporting nutrients, aiding the digestive system and removing waste products. Eating ice cubes is one way to hydrate yourself, though the most effective way is to drink more water. Ice also can help lower your body temperature. On a hot day, crunching on a piece of ice might help you cool down. Or after a vigorous workout, chewing a piece of ice might make athletes feel cooler while providing some extra hydration.


People who suffer from nausea might benefit from chewing ice. MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, recommends flavored ice cubes to cancer patients who experience nausea and vomiting. For example, frozen ice cubes made of low-sugar apple or grape juice provide healthy nutirents and might help soothe you stomach. Other suggestions include sipping liquids slowly or through a straw, and avoiding hot foods.


One disadvantage of chewing ice cubes is the damage it might do to your teeth, especially if you chew them often. Repetitive chewing of hard items like ice cubes or candy can crack or break your teeth and damage fillings and other dental work. Another safety risk is that young children might choke on normal ice cubes, even if you break them up into small pieces. A safer alternative is to use an ice-pop tray to create a snack they can lick rather than chew.


A compulsion to chew ice cubes might fall under the category of pica, which is an abnormal craving to eat nonfood items. Pregnant women might experience a strong desire to chew ice cubes, as well as other atypical items, such as clay, dirt, ashes, laundry starch, baking soda, toothpaste, coffee grounds or cigarette butts, according to nutritionist Bridget Swinney of BabyCenter. There's no known cause for pica, but some bizarre cravings might have a link to a nutritional deficiency. Swinney says, "Some women who have iron-deficiency anemia crave ice until the deficiency is cured," though she notes that a craving for ice isn't always due to a deficiency.

Load Comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.