Is Your Kid Chewing Clothes, Pencil? What You Need To Know

Is Your Kid Chewing Clothes, Pencil? What You Need To Know

Are you worried that your child is chewing on everything that they can get their hands on? Here's why it's happening and when you should talk to a doctor.

Written by Arushi Bidhuri |Updated : August 22, 2022 8:01 PM IST

Yes, kids put clothes, pencils and everything they can find in their mouths. But is it part of their normal behaviour or something you should be concerned about? When children are little, chewing on things is a sign of teething, which is why there are toys designed for babies. However, it could be peculiar behaviour when the child gets older. This isn't about chewing a certain snack, but about inedible objects that could lead to problems in a child.

Why Do Kids Chew On Inedible Objects?

Over the years, research has found some reasons for chewing.


The reason behind chewing on inedible things might just be as simple as boredom. Some young children will unknowingly chew on the sleeve or collar of their shirts. Other children may use chewing as a coping mechanism. Try some of these things to keep your kid busy if you think boredom is the reason they're chewing.

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Too focused on something

Has it ever happened to you that you are so concentrated that you don't realize what you are doing? It is common in kids as well. Sometimes, they are so focused on what they are doing that they don't even realize that they are chewing on something, like a pencil.

Sensory stimulation

Stimming, a rhythmic motion that consistently stimulates a sense, can aid youngsters who have trouble processing sensory information. One kind of stimming used by certain kids is chewing.


Anxiety or stress in kids can trigger a change in your child's behaviour, chewing is one of them. If you think your kid is suffering from anxiety, make sure to contact a doctor.

Dental issues

Children who have dental problems may be chewing on their clothes or other objects. Many instructors and therapists have told us that kids start chewing when their molars erupt, or they develop a cavity. This is particularly relevant to children who are nonverbal and may not be able to express that they have a dental issue.

Are There Ways To Reduce These Chewing Incidences?

One of the best ways to reduce these chewing incidences in your child is to know the cause. You can talk to a paediatrician to know the cause. Some ways you might be able to help your child receive oral sensory input in different ways include:

  • Creating bubbles
  • Using an electric toothbrush to wash your teeth
  • Blowing wind instruments or whistles
  • Using a straw to drink something thick, such as pudding
  • Consuming salty snacks
  • Humming or making a beelike buzzing noise with your mouth
  • Chewable toys

Contact your healthcare practitioner if you have concerns about your child's behaviour. Your child might benefit from the assistance of a paediatric or speech-language pathologist.