Should I be concerned about my childs chewing?

Stacey - posted on 04/20/2012 ( 19 moms have responded )

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My son is 21 months and he chews on things like normal babies/toddlers would. But he puts rocks in his mouth and chews on them. He never swallows them but he chews. He also will destroy anything cardboard or a book chew right through them. I dont know what to do.

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Liz - posted on 04/20/2012

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My nephew would do the same thing, eat/chew on things that aren't edible. It's called Pica and it could be a sign of an iron deficiency. A simple prick of the finger (or toe) to check hemoglobin level will give your doctor an answer.

Rachel - posted on 04/23/2012

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You can ask your pediatrician but if he isnt swallowing then it isn't likely to be a deficiency of any kind. When people eat dirt, they eat it because of a craving for the minerals. My daughter (19mo) likes to stick rocks or brick in her mouth. Doesn't try to eat it, just bites it with her front teeth. I think it's just their way of exploring the new texture. I don't condone it, but when they are that age you pick your battles, and simply say icky icky and hope they think so too, BAHAHAHA

Stacey - posted on 04/22/2012

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yeah he has a doctors appt tomorrow so hopefully we can figure out if its serious or just a phase. my mom said I use to put dirt in my mouth to. but he eats books and his crib. Cardboard, anything really.

Nicole - posted on 04/22/2012

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my son used to teeth bad. we used to let him chew on buck sticks with the skin still on so he wouldnt chew hugs chunks off. never even really ate it, just chewed.

Angie - posted on 04/22/2012

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my suggestion for sure would be to rule out Pica... have him checked out by the doctor. I used to eat dirt when I was little, only to find out later I had an iron deficiency. Good Luck!

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User - posted on 04/19/2013

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my friend was just diagnosed w/low iron levels (her symptom was chewing ice) and as a factoid her dr shared that in less developed countries, they chew on rocks. so maybe he is low again... i'm sure you will figure it out.

Janaya - posted on 09/27/2012

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Hi there. I'm curious to know if you figured out why your son is/was eating everything? My 14 month old daughter does the exact same thing; eating her books, wood, rocks and anything else she can fit in her mouth.

Stacey - posted on 04/23/2012

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Thanks everyone he has a docctors appt today so Im going to tell the doctor what he does to books, and show him the ending result.

Stacey - posted on 04/23/2012

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Its not just the rocks he eats cardboard, books, anything he can tear paper off of. But he has a doctors appt today so Im going to show the doctor what he does to books. Thanks everyone!

Dora - posted on 04/23/2012

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I understand a few parents are telling you not worry about him chewing on rocks if he is not swallowing them. For me I wouldn't recommend it. He is still just a small child and can easily choke even if he doesn't mean to swallow them. My son used to try and put rocks and wood chips in his mouth. He was like your son, he wouldn't swallow them just keep them in the front of his mouth. I would take the stuff out of his mouth and just tell him DANGER. I just kept doing it until one day he just stopped. I don't recommend ever allowing your child to keep stuff in his mouth that are not edible just because he may think it is ok to put everything in his mouth and one day put something in his mouth that can be hazardous such as certain plants (Foxglove just to name one), magnets, etc.....

Tamara - posted on 04/22/2012

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Ah, my daughter eats mud--loves it!--if she's not eating rocks. She just sucks on it and I tell her to spit it out when we go back in the house.

She's never choked, so I don't worry about it.

I asked the Dr. once and he didn't have anything to say about it.

She's just an oral girl! I give her frozen washclothes. It didn't help. She just wants rocks.

Now that she's gotten to be able to spit it out when we go inside, I'm working on telling her that we don't put rocks in our mouths. She'll be two next month.

I figure she won't be eating rocks in Kindergarten, so I don't worry.

User - posted on 04/22/2012

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I think he is just being curious! First of all, he is a boy and boys gravitate to anything they aren't supposed to. I have four of them so I have been through similar situations...as for advice, give him teething toys and things he CAN chew on or keep snacks on hand to give out when he starts popping rocks. but if he isn't trying to swallow them, ease up a little and let him explore. of course, if he is your first that may sound a little shocking! ha ha...don't worry - kids do crazy weird things all the time!

Amanda - posted on 04/22/2012

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My son is 14mths and has been doing the same thing for months. When he's outside he puts anything in his mouth, sticks, dirt but mostly rocks. Every time i look at him he has something in his mouth, i take it out then theres another in there, drives me nuts. I've also noticed that one of his front teeth has a tiny chip in it most likely as a result of chewing on rocks. So hopefully for your sake and mine it's just a phase that some toddlers go through and it will end very soon.

Ashley - posted on 04/22/2012

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My son had an iron deficiency but never did that. He was pricked so many times, put on medicine he hated( can't blame him) it smelled disgusting! Finally that is over. Glad he didn't eat strange things. I did when I was little!

Stacey - posted on 04/20/2012

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He cant possibly be teething he has a mouth full of teeth. I have not gone to his peditrician Im thinking i should though, My mom also said I did something like it too. So we will see!

Kay - posted on 04/20/2012

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Have you talked to a pediatrician? It could be a nutritional deficiency or it could be teething or it could be just quirky behavior. I remember my sister doing something similar and she is perfectly fine twenty odd years later. :)

Good luck!

Katherine - posted on 04/20/2012

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He's probably teething. Get him a teething toy or cold washcloth to munch on.

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