Nutritional Deficiency Can Lead to Pica

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Pica is the persistent eating of non-nutritious substances such as ice, clay, sand, hair and anything else not normally served as food. Many people with these habits can be helped by correcting nutritional deficiencies, most commonly iron deficiency, but also including calcium, zinc and other vitamins. As dentists we are concerned with the fracturing and excessive wearing of teeth seen with eating ice and soil substances, as well as exposure to toxic chemicals and parasites with eating soil, feces, paper products and burnt match heads (among many other things). Don’t be embarrassed to ask your doctor for help.