Massachusettes to require toothbrushing

A new mandate in Massachusetts will require day care providers to help children brush their teeth after a meal.

Tooth brushing is becoming part of the daily routine at day cares across Massachusetts.

Starting this month, any child who has a meal in day care or is in care for more than four hours will be required to brush their teeth, according to the Department of Early Education and Care.
"We've notified the parents and we've talked to all the children about tooth brushing and good oral hygiene," said Nicole Chan, who works at Knowledge Beginnings in Needham, Mass.
Improving oral hygiene is the driving force behind the new regulations.
"One out of four children have tooth decay. Fifty percent of them aren't treated," said Dr. Maria Georgaklis, a pediatric dentist who works at Cleveland Circle Dental Associates.
Georgaklis says parents should embrace the regulations to protect their teeth of their children.
"This will prevent tooth decay," she said.
But some parents are concerned about germs. Knowledge Beginnings has a system in place to address this issue.
"We're providing the toothbrushes, the holders, the cases and the toothpastes, as well," said Chan.
And teachers are the only ones who can hand the child their toothbrush.
Even though the tooth brushing requirement is a state mandate, parents can opt out.


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