- Chewing can be calming. Think about it when you eat you tend to relax. The act of chewing can be a way for kids to calm themselves.
- Chewing can also help children focus. Students may be chewing on their clothes at school as a way to help them stay focused and pay attention.
- Children may be chewing on their clothes or non-food items because they have a dental issue. We have heard from many teachers and therapists that children start chewing when molars are coming in or they have a cavity. This can be especially true of a child who is nonverbal and may not be able to communicate that they are having a problem inside their mouth.
- Some therapists have suggested that there is a connection between children who do little physical activity and chewing. The theory is that everyone needs to move and children who are inside a lot or have trouble with movement may chew as a way to release pent up energy.
- Some children may chew on their clothes because they need to stimulate their jaw muscles. This is especially true of kids who eat a soft or pureed diet.
- The child may be chewing because they have Pica.
Kids chewing on their clothes, hair or fingers is a common issue that parents and teachers have seen in students with autism, ADHD and sensory issues. There can be several reasons why a kid is chewing. If you are a concerned parent make sure to talk to your child's doctor to rule out any possible medical issue.
Here are the most common reasons:
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If your child or student is having chewing problems you can help them by providing appropriate alternatives that are safe to chew on. It is important not to give a child or adult animal toys or any item that has not properly been properly tested. Animal chew toys are not required to undergo the same kind of testing that products designed for people must go through. These items can contain paint that can flake off, or even or heavy metals.
Some items designed for babies may break apart easily so be cautious when giving these types of items to people with fully developed teeth. Also if an item is too hard it can damage teeth or gums.
For aggressive chewers we recommend:
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There are several ways to redirect problem chewing. You can use chewable pencil toppers or chewable jewelry. For students sitting at a desk pencil toppers are a great option. However, using jewelry is a nice option because it is readily available, portable, and won't get lost easily. This is helpful for students who tend to chew on their hair or shirts.
Some Popular Chewable Jewelry Options: