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My child likes to eat dirt and rocks, what can I do ?

my child is 2 years old and she likes to eat dirt and rocks, what can i do?
Asked On : Sat, 29 May 2010
Answers:  5 Views:  1083
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Dentist 's  Response
Thank you for the query.
This pattern of eating or habit of eating dirt and rocks is medically termed as PICA which is a disorder in which usually children between the age of 2-4 yrs have a persistant and compulsive cravings to eat non food items. It occurs due to loss of certain nutrients such as iron deficiency anemia, zinc deficiency.
I suggest you to see your childs pediatrician to rule out presence of any calcium deficiency which usually initiates the child to eat dirt or soil or rock.
Hope this information helps you.
Take care.
Answered: Mon, 28 Jan 2013
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Dentist Dr. Neha Sumra's  Response
Welcome to HCM
I would like to tell you that this is not a major problem & need not worry.It happens with 70% kids at the age of 2-4 yrs.They like putting anything to mouth & some times its because of calcium deficiency.
You need to give calcium supplements to your child.You need to take proper care of your child that he should not put any such thing in mouth.Try to explain him about harms of putting such things in mouth.
Wait for almost 1 year & if habit still continues than consult pediatrician.

Take Care
Answered: Thu, 18 Oct 2012
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Dentist Dr. Udaykumar Bondre's  Response
Hello & welcome,

Children at the age of between 2 - 4 yrs are usually seen with the habit of eating earth dirt or small rocks.

This is nothing but their cravings to put something in mouth as new dentition is forming at that particular age.

This is also seen due to children's curiosity to know the new things or to handle them by touching or eating or just putting them in mouth.

Absolutely no treatment is necessary and the habit gets reduced over the period of a few months without any problem.

You will just have to be concerned about not let the child on ground or away from your eyes to avoid accidental intake of any harmful objects along with the soil. If this happens, child's health will be hampered.

You can visit any Pediatrician to rule out presence of calcium deficiency which may be the initiative factor for soil eating in some children.

This can be treated with calcium supplements given as prescribed by your pediatrician. Increase the intake of cow's milk by child which will be helpful to compensate calcium deficiency if present otherwise.

Take care.
Answered: Sat, 20 Oct 2012
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Dentist, Prosthodontics Dr. Shivangi Gajwani Jain's  Response
Hi Diana,
It happens with many 2-3year olds, that they like eating dirt and rocks. they get this craving which can be handled by you i am sure. with continuous vigil (to make sure the child does not end up eating anything harmful)and constant explaining the child not to do so, in a period of time he/she will stop. But if you feel that there is no change in your child's habits or the child is falling ill, then you must visit a child specialist for the same.
Answered: Tue, 7 Aug 2012
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Dentist Dr. Roshan Khan's  Response
hello diana,
this is a common phenomenon called PICA in kids ages 2-3.
Some kids require behavioral intervention and families may need to work with a psychologist or other mental health professional.

Depending on a child's age and developmental stage, doctors will work with kids to teach them ways to eat more appropriately. Medication may also be prescribed if pica is associated with significant behavioral problems not responding to behavioral treatments.

Your doctor may check for anemia or other nutritional deficiencies, if indicated. A child who has ingested a potentially harmful substance, such as lead, will be screened for lead and other toxic substances and might undergo stool testing for parasites. In some cases, X-rays or other imaging may be helpful to identify what was eaten or to look for bowel problems, such as an obstruction.

Fortunately, pica is usually a temporary condition that improves as kids get older or following pregnancy. But for individuals with developmental or mental health issues, pica can be a more prolonged concern.

Following treatment, if your child's pica behavior continues beyond several weeks despite attempts to intervene, contact your doctor again for additional treatment. Remember that patience is key in treating pica because it can take time for some kids to stop wanting to eat nonfood items
dr. khan
Answered: Wed, 30 Jun 2010
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