6 Year Putting Things in Her Mouth

Updated on May 15, 2009
M.H. asks from Woodinville, WA
12 answers

This problem has been driving me crazy for quite some time. My 6 year old daughter puts so many items in her mouth when she isn't thinking about it. She puts them in her teeth and just enjoys the feeling in her mouth - I don't think she realizes she even does it until I tell her to take it out of her mouth. Anything from braclets, money, clothes, and tonight a dog toy. YUCK! I used to take the item and throw it away - that didn't work. She sucked her thumb until she was about 3 years old, quit all on her own when the dentist told her she needed to quit. Would love other experience with this issue.

Thank You,

SAHM to an only child - 6 years old, happily married to her dad for 16 years.

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So What Happened?

Thank you to everyone that sent me some advice - I sure needed it. I sort of forgot that teething could be the issue. Her teeth are in there so solid, I didn't think about them coming out - she does EVERYTHING at the last furlong so thought teeth would be the same. Thank You again - your suggestions are great.

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answers from Eugene on

My son did that too and it drove me CRAZY until I realized he was teething again. Now it's time for the baby front teeth to get loose and the adult teeth to come in, and constant chewing and tugging is the most efficient way to help this along. I had my son chew on a wet washcloth. If the look of this drives you crazy, it can be just in her room, or when she's by herself.

I hope that helps,

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answers from Bellingham on

My daughter recently started doing the same thing. I took her to a routine dental visit and her 6 year molars are coming in. She's teething.. your daughter may be doing the same. Do you have a dental appointment coming up?

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answers from Seattle on

I have a 5 year old who does this but I also have a special needs 2 year old who mouths everything so what I would recommend is finding appropriate things she can use for mouthing. What I do is just get extra of the mouthing items I get for my youngest. Things such as chewelry, fish tank tubing(also known as surgical grade tubing)made into a bracelet, necklace, or key chain for use on a backpack, sugar free gum. These things have helped my oldest when she's needed them either for sensory input or teething purposes in any case they are appropriate things for mouthing/chewing and it is saving her clothing. Hopefully you can find something that works for your daughter.

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answers from Portland on

consider also pica--a medical condition caused by instinctual searching for trace minerals ... pregnant women get it a pretty often, usually it turns up as eating dirt (iron). Eating any non-food substance, I'm told, is considered part of this pattern--including ice!

(Although, my friend who has read every self-help book in the universe (and yes it has helped her ; ) ), when quick-quizzed at to what chewing ice meant, responded uneqivicably that it's because the person is sexually frustrated ... which certainly applied to me and the other person I knew doing it at that time ;)!!! Eep! )

Anyhow, it might be worth watching if there are any preferences (coins are a common one for metals, for instance).

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answers from Seattle on

Six year olds often go through another "teething" cycle when they loose their front teeth. (sigh...) Unfortunately it can become a habit. The things that worked when she was three don't work as easily when she is six. You can show her some pictures of people pre-braces on the net--that may work.

But I would figure out a reward system for when you see her not putting things in her mouth. Give her the reward of something she really like to do. If she can keep things out of her mouth for half a day at first then she gets the reward.



answers from Portland on

I have the same problem with my daughter, she's
12years old.
I really don't know what to tell you except you just have to keep telling her no don't put that in your mouth,
I let my daughter chuew gum and that seems to help.
now that she is older it is mostly things like her hair and the strings to her cloths.
If you ask me, I think she saw a movie when she was little
and the little girl in the movie was chewing on her finger and always had something in her mouth, maybe she thought she was cool. She started doing it too.
because right after I let her watch the movie PollyAnna
I notice her putting thing;s in her mouth.

Well good luck. if you come up with something.
Email will ya.



answers from Spokane on

I have a 6 year old girl who does the samething!!! She never did suck her thumb. My gosh it drives me crazy!!!!!!!! Like right now she just got out of the shower and is standing there with the towel wrapped around her and the corner of it in her mouth. She always has her fingers in her mouth sometime all of them. I think maybe it is just that some kids are more oral then others. I sure would like to see what other people have to say about it also. I am so glad mine isn't the only one!!!!!




answers from Seattle on

had this problem too. I feel it is a choking hazard so I did not let it slide. Mine really likes sweets so I told her when I saw with anything in her mouth besides food or her thumb I guessed she had already had her dessert for the day. So she had a choice of which thing she would rather put in her mouth. it worked for her -- also with nail biting.



answers from Seattle on

THere must be something about this age! My 5 year old has had a similar problem recently. It started with chewing on his shirt sleeve - which left holes, totally stretched them and ruined them. His teacher said there were a number of kids doing that. Then I noticed him putting lots of toys and things in his mouth.

Positive reinforcement really works for him. We use a jar full of marbles. Each day he did not put toys in his mouth, he got 1 marble to put in a vase (or smaller jar or bowl). When he didn't chew on clothes, he got 2 marbles. When the smaller vase is full, he gets to choose a reward. He does something with either my husband or me one on one and we trade off each time. He chooses a movie to go to, an old Star Wars movie to watch, lunch at McDonalds (a rare treat in our house!), swimming, etc.

It has worked really well for him. It took only a few days before he as done chewing/putting things in his mouth.

Good luck!



answers from Anchorage on

My suggestion is to talk with an occupational therapist. They help children with sensory needs and it sounds like that may be the case. She is getting some sort of information or as you stated gratification from having these things in her mouth. There are child appropriate chews that an OT can get. With them you can set a plan for decreasing and eventually ending the use of the item.



answers from Seattle on

-- how about taking her to the dentist ( there's always room for a cleaning for a something ) and asking ahead of time to have the dentist ask her about this habit ( ''' hmmm do I see some scratches on the surface of your teeth?? --- Oh PLEASE dont tell me you have the habit of -----------------that can hurt you so terribly. -- If you fell, or tripped over the dog - or -- slipped -- you could be in here or in the er for some really uncomfortable help -- PLEASE promise me you'll stop '''--- or whatever. She is risking broken teeth- even the permanent teeth that have not come in could break and that would be so grimly painful to fix we'll not discuss it here.

old Mom



answers from Portland on

Try having her eyes checked. My friend's son used to do the same thing. They had his eyes checked and found out he was putting things in his mouth because he could not see them.

Good luck,