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Thread: Hand Constantly in Mouth?

  1. #1

    Default Hand Constantly in Mouth?

    Someone posted not too long ago about their daughter licking things and putting her hands in her mouth (IIRC). I can't remember who, and I cannot find the post!

    Anyway, I was looking for it because DS2 (3 years old) has lately been chewing on his the point where he has scratches and teeth marks on his hand. He doesn't necessarily do it when he's angry...more often than not, it's when he's watching tv intently or falling asleep. Sometimes it can be his index and middle finger, sometimes his thumb, sometimes his entire fist. Yesterday, he fell asleep at naptime with it in his mouth and I had to pry it out. He recently has been having behavioral issues, too (his babysitter refuses to watch him b/c she's going through some personal issues herself, and she said that it's too stressful for her to watch him), so I'm wondering if somehow the two are tied together?

    Anyone have any experience with this?

    Btw, he's been sick twice in the past couple of months, and I'm sure that has something to do with it, too, since he's surely transferring germs into his mouth.

  2. #2


    Is he drooling? Complaining of pain in his mouth? How is his speech? Is he physically aggressive with his siblings?

    My first thought was maybe he's getting some molars?

    My oldest son has some sensory proccessing disorder issues and one of the symptoms (for him, not saying this applies to your son) he has is that his fist is in his mouth numerous times throughout the day. He has always sucked on his two fingers with his lovey since he was a baby. That's his way of soothing himself. But, in the last 7-8 months, he will put his whole fist or 2-3 knuckles in his mouth when he's angry, over stimulated, etc and I know at that point that he's getting ready to get really physical with me, his brother or the dog. I have to show my son the marks on his hand to make him realize how hard he is biting himself. If you think it would help, maybe you can give him some teething toys he is "allowed" to chew on. There are also chewing tubes you can buy online specifically for kiddos who need to have oral stimulation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008


    Does he have a new stress? Something new going on? I think you might be referring to my post about dd licking and putting everything in her mouth. She stopped when we finally settled at home (well almost, still unpacking) She still tends to navigate things into her mouth, but they're mostly toys, and it's not as big of a problem as it was a month ago. She stopped digging around in her mouth though. So I'm pretty sure it was all the moving around we did for a couple of months that she had to find a way to cope with the stress. Hope this helps!
    Is this the post ?
    Last edited by AlexL2010; 11-29-2012 at 11:50 PM.

  4. #4


    No excessive drooling. My first thought was teething, too, but he has all of his teeth (2 year molars are already in). We have a dentist appt at the first of January, and I was going to talk to him about it. We had his 3 year well check in Sept, but he wasn't doing it then so I didn't ask. I asked him if his teeth hurt, and he said no. His speech is great, he's actually advanced in that area. He is my physically aggressive child. He always has been. Sometimes I think that chewing on his fist is his way of trying to redirect his aggression? He doesn't do it while he's mad, though, he does it when he's calm. That's what throws me?

    Alex, yes, that was the thread! The only thing new to him is his little sister, but she was born in June...again, a while before he started doing this.

    Thanks for the responses, ladies!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007


    My DS does this (as well as nail biting and licking his arms all the way up to his elbows) when anxious or stressed. A new baby and baby sitter issues can certainly be stressful for a 2 year old. We just actually pulled DS out of preschool because it was causing too much stress ... he has been home from school for 2 weeks and the behavior is clearly going away (he still puts his fingers in his mouth, but very little - no nail biting, no licking). I would just focus on helping him relax and I am sure things will improve as time goes on.

    ETA: I just wanted to add that DS did this at home, after school even when he was relaxing (probably even more so than when busy with other stuff).
    Last edited by impatient; 11-30-2012 at 01:02 PM.

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