Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

How can I get my son to stop chewing on stuff?

My 12 year old son started chewing on plastic water bottle caps. I dont know why he started doing it, but Im afraid he's going to mess up his teeth. Why do you think he's doing this and how can i get him stop?


Asked by carina.g at 4:31 PM on Aug. 3, 2010 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 5 (78 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (11)
  • I'm a parent of a kid with sensory processing disorderand mild autism- she chews as part of her "stimming" (i.e. calming self-stimulation). Stimming is a behavior that many of us do when we are excited, nervous or preoccupied- like twirling hair, cracking knuckles, biting nails... Usually such stimming is the child's way of calming themselves, and as such, isn't necessarily a bad thing. Just direct the chewing so it isn't distructive or unsafe- gum works well & is socially acceptable. There are also commercial "chew tubes" (Google it) that can be put on the end of his pencil. The point is, give him something safe that is OK to chew.

    Answer by mamahobbit at 7:04 PM on Aug. 4, 2010

  • Talk it over with him and ask him why he is doing it. Tell him why he should stop.

    Answer by elizabr at 4:50 PM on Aug. 3, 2010

  • I actually chew on things without even realizing it and I'm 36. My older son has this same problem, he always chews on pencils in class and the teachers are always telling him to stop. He chews on bottle caps as well, he used to chew on the collars of his shirt. I think its a nervous tick or maybe from anxiety. I'm bipolar so I do a lot of things involuntary when I'm in deep thought or having a hard coping (cutting being one of them). I worry sometimes my son has the same problem - but honestly I think its just something to do. I chew gum once I'm aware of it and I ask my son stop and give him gum as well. He's 15 now and at school he can have gum, so that solves it for him too. I'd try that and see if it helps, but changes are he doesn't even realize a lot of the time, its probably a way for him to calm himself, not sure but that would be guess based on my experience.

    Answer by blessedwboysx3 at 4:52 PM on Aug. 3, 2010

  • It is completely possible that he has OCD... I used to chew on things like that (still do sometimes) and it's because of a compulsion. You may want to talk to him and see if he feels he "has" to do this, or if he's just bored.

    Answer by WomanWitty at 3:08 AM on Aug. 4, 2010

  • My son used to do this too ... chewed plastic bottle caps and plastic pen caps like they were chewing gum. It can be the result of an underlying vitamin/mineral deficiency. Research "pica", he may be trying to feed that need and it's manifesting itself in this odd behavior. My boy no longer does it as he is under the care of a DAN doctor who tests him yearly and prescribes vitamins/minerals specially tailored for his needs.

    Answer by FootballMom85 at 7:06 AM on Aug. 4, 2010

  • Mess with him. Put some pudding on something he chews on. Tell him it is poo. Then tell him you touched alot of things with the same poo. If he chews on something again he will get sick and his breath will stink and you will tell all of his girlfriends he ate poo. My son use to chewed his nails, and I warned him. Next time I painted his nails HOT PINK, and sent him straight to school. That, was the end of that!

    Answer by zassymama2 at 4:50 PM on Aug. 3, 2010

  • I would guess boredom or lack or awareness, unless he is going out of his way to chew on things. I do it all the time, to the amusement of my mate. Well he isn't amused when his pen caps are the fodder. I would just get him to be aware that he is sticking things in his mouth.

    Answer by Liansmommie at 10:22 PM on Aug. 3, 2010

  • First of all, make sure you throw the plastic bottle caps in the garbage right away. If he digs in the garbage for them, tell him you will take him to a head doctor. is not a good sign. Not only will he damage his teeth and gums, it can't be healthy. Not a good thing, Mom.

    Answer by gertie41 at 10:36 PM on Aug. 3, 2010

  • There is a product that you can ask the pharmacist from Walmart that you paint on, kind of like clear nail polish, but it tastes awful. It is non toxic, but after a couple of chews of that stuff, and he will think twice. Good luck.

    Answer by Joeygoat at 11:44 PM on Aug. 3, 2010

  • It may be a sensory issue and that he has moved on from something less obvious to you. You can get pencil chewies which are safer to chew on.

    Answer by happytexasCM at 10:42 AM on Aug. 4, 2010