The explanation behind why this ice cube hack works is pretty simple. We get a stuffy nose as a result of our immunity reacting to some irritant or infection, as explained by Dr. David A. Gudis, otolaryngologist and chief of the Division of Rhinology and Anterior Skull Base Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center (via Health Matters NewYork-Presbyterian). “When a germ or microbe is identified as a threat, the lining of the nose and sinuses mount a protective response that includes inflammation and production of secretions. These changes are experienced as stuffy or runny noses,” shared the ear, nose, and throat specialist.
When you’re pushing an ice cube to the roof of your mouth, you’re essentially helping swollen blood vessels constrict, per Life Hacker. “Stuffy nose is caused by inflamed blood vessels and when you put ice close to it, that will constrict the blood vessels and get rid of a stuffy nose,” explained Angela Dori. Cooling techniques to soothe sinus pressure are also recommended by health professionals like the Detroit Sinus Center. As it turns out, this isn’t the only thing that pressing ice cubes to the roof of your mouth can do. It can also be used as a beauty hack to combat blotchy skin.