13 answers

Please Help - Toddler Chewing on EVERYTHING!

Hi everyone -
I am wondering if anyone has any ideas.... I have 18 month old boy/girl twins and my daughter has always been a "chewer" but it has just gotten awful! We used to blame it on teething - but she has all of her teeth in! (she popped her first tooth before 4 months!) Her crib is demolished - she has now chewed on all 4 sides (and we tried everything...she figured out how to get the Gummi Crib rail stuff off - and now has chewed through duct tape!) Just yesterday, she chewed 2 DVD cases that she managed to get off of our entertainment center!
She has been known to eat carpet -- like lay down on the area rug and pull up a piece with her teeth.

I've mentioned this to our pediatrician and she said that some kids just chew... but it's just awful! We can't have books out around the house - because she chews on them and ruins them! (Did it at a playdate over the weekend!) About 6-8 weeks ago, we had a CBC done - to check her iron levels -- and all was normal. I plan on asking the pediatrician again in a few weeks when we had their next check-up.

Any ideas? It's just awful...

(and we've tried teething rings, rags, etc.... we've tried a lot!)

Thanks a bunch -


What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Have you tried Chewelry or Chewy Tubes? Chewelry is basically like a teething ring that a child can wear (e.g. bracelet, necklace, etc). You may have already tried this but I thought I'd try!!

More Answers

Has anyone told you to maybe have a lead level checked? My youngest sister did the same thing as a toddler. Chewed on her crib, window cells, ate dirt, etc. From what we were told once the lead gets in their system they crave it. So, dirt and wood, etc tasted like candy to her. Once she was tested her lead level was almost 40 which was very dangerous.

1 mom found this helpful

I wish I had a really great solution to offer...our now 5 year old was always oral too. We still have issues now. I asked her to bring me a rubber band for her hair yesterday...she brought it to me with the entire thing stuffed in her mouth chewing on it! She used to hide under the dining room table so she could chew on people's shoes---flip flops were a particular favorite. Once we saw her chewing on something, told her to spit it out and out popped the head of a Polly Pocket doll..she bit it clean off the body.
The only thing you can do is watch everything that is on the floor or within reaching distance. For books, look for the plastic or cloth kind. Constantly take stuff out of her mouth and tell her no. As awful as it sounds we actually had to pop her on the back of the head like a dog to get her to drop stuff. (don't everyone write what awful parents we are--it's not like we whacked her!) If you take something out of her mouth try to give her something she can chew on-- a rattle, a towel, a snack. For the crib you need to go buy those clear side rail covers. They do work. Your kid is normal--just very oral. If she starts eating dirt or seaching out dryer lint while passing up good food then worry. It's a pain in the can to be so vigilant but eventually it will get better....good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

They make chew toys for children. They look like a T and some of them have different textures. They can be purchased through a therapy store online or from an Occupational Therapist. You can also make a necklace using different pieces and diameters of rubber tubing, like the excercise bands. Then children have something all the time at hand acceptable to chew on. (This is only for use with supervision.) You can also look at adding chewy snacks into the day or carry them when you are out.


This can be a sensory seeking activity. There are products available for kids that need that chewing sensory input. I've listed a few below along. The "chewlery" was a favorite of my daughter's when she was constantly chewing. The bracelets are great because they can wear them and always have them close when they feel the need to chew on something. She didn't like the necklaces as they would tangle in her hair. And although the chewy tubes were nice - she didn't want to walk around holding them.

Chewy Tubes:

Chewy Tubes Ps and Qs:

ChewEase Bracelets/Necklaces/Pencil Toppers:

Have you tried Chewelry or Chewy Tubes? Chewelry is basically like a teething ring that a child can wear (e.g. bracelet, necklace, etc). You may have already tried this but I thought I'd try!!

WOW! I could probably give you better advice if we were talking about a puppy, but have you tried giving her things that are OK to chew on and are safer than some of the things she is finding for herself? I am thinking frozen mini Bagels, teething rings, frozen juice pops, or how about crunchy food that will be more satisfying to her obvious craving for all things oral!? Look for those baby toys that have different sections or parts with different textures, sounds,and shapes. One of my kids was facinated with putting the different textures in her mouth, or rubbing them with her finger. My daughter was kind of mouthy too but not to the degree you describe. She also tended to love to get into any kind of mess she could find...including the poop in her diaper...yuck! even now, she feels no repulsion to getting completely goopy in some mess she finds (mud puddles, the sand box, the scummy water in the bird bath, double yuck!) She'll pull something out of the garbage or off the street to investigate it without hesitation. She never ate the carpet, but she drank water out of the dog's dish a few times as a toddler! Your daughter will outgrow it at some point, but I would be very careful with small objects around the house (swallowing or choking) We had an emergency room visit and an x-ray and $500 later we confirmed that she did NOT swallow the penny!!! Good Luck!

My daughter is about to turn two and still puts a lot of stuff in her mouth. Just like Alice, we've had to do the same things. We usually count to 3 now before we pull whatever it is that is in her mouth. She's started to spit out most things at 1. She hates us digging it out. She really loves to put paper towels and wipes in her mouth. She's never gone to the point of carpet, so I see your dilema, but like you, she destroys books and eats them all of the time. I won't put a new book in with her crib b/c it will be torn up by morning. She not only chews, but peels off all of the layers of a board book.

Just know that you are not alone. It has gotten better as she's gotten older.


Sorry, but I had to laugh when you mentioned her chewing the crib! My son ate the sides of his crib like a woodchuck. We had to clean up piles of wood every morning and he had sores on his checks from it for a few months. He is 4 1/2 now and still puts everything in his mouth. He chews his shirt, blankets....I even catch him chewing on my couch! He is also a nail biter which drives me crazy. His doctor says it's normal and that he will grow out of it and try not making a big deal out of it. He also said it's newvous habit and as he gets older he'll learn to deal with whatever is making him feel axiety in a different way. Basically the more you tell him to stop, the more he does it. I can definitely say it's not nearly as bad as when he was a toddler, but he still has the tendencies.

Good luck!

I had to punish my chewer when I caught her. She stopped.

sounds like my lil boy he's 2 1/2 and LOVES to chew on everything but his ped sais that he would grow out of it.

Ok, I've read all the responses and it seems what you can do is either wait it out until she grows out of it, gets "better" or you can have her evaluated. Upon reading your post I first thought its some motor/sensory issue. Then reading another responder, I have to agree. The State of Illinois, Department of Human Services, Divsion of Specialized Care for Children supports these evaluations and therapy. Maybe this will help clear up some of your questions and provide some relief. Either way, please don't "pop" her in the back of the head. I have never seen anything positive come out of physical actions.
I hope you and your daughter find some relief.

I highly suggest early intervention and see a oral motor therapist. They have all the tool and cool fun things to do with kids this age and up mine are 3 and 1/2 still getting it but for a different reason (they are allergic to all foods and cannot eat so we need to keep the jaw muscle tone etc.)
you should go and have them evaluated it is so cool the chewy toys they uses to get them stimulated and their needs meet. And did you know this sort of stuff comew with preemies and twins ect.
good luck

Hi CK-
I don't have any experience with this myself, but one idea did occur to me. I know Walgreens or other drug stores sell a bitter-tasting product to help parents stop their children from sucking their thumbs. Obviously you can't put vinegar or a bitter-tasting chemical on everything like your books and carpet - but could you try it on the major targets like her crib rails? Maybe if she doesn't know when she's going to get that bitter taste it will deter the behavior. Just a thought.
Good luck,

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