It's Toothbrush Time for Toddlers in Massachusetts

Filed under: In The News

Massachusetts has mandated toothbrush time for kids in day care facilities. Credit: Getty Images


Day care providers have an additional brushing activity for youngsters, and it's not using a paint brush. Massachusetts has added dental care to requirements for preschools.

The state is the first in the nation to do so, according to The New York Times. If a child has a meal or spends more than four hours at a day care, children are required to learn about oral health.

The decision has been received a mixed response from parents, who are allowed to opt out if they "feel strongly about the regulation," the article states.

"I don't want someone's hand in my child's mouth. It's a little too much" government intervention, Sarah Brodsky, a teacher at First Path Day Care in Watertown, Mass., and mother of 4-month-old Noah told the Times.

However, a 2003 state study found that "one in four Massachusetts kindergartners have dental disease," the Times reports.
"Poor dental care is the most common, chronic childhood ailment, and if untreated can result in pain, infection and other devastating impacts on a child's health," Sherri Killins, commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care, the oversight department for day cares, tells the newspaper.

For younger charges without the motor skills, the daycare staff "use a soft bristle to swab the gums" along with a small, safe amount of toothpaste. According the article, in 2006 Head Start programs "mandated tooth brushing" for children.

Related: Brushing And Flossing A Child's Teeth

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.