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You Can't Handle The Tooth! Kid's Toothbrush Law in MA

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By Minara El-Rahman on January 26, 2010 11:45 AM

Massachusetts wants you kids to brush your teeth! WCBV Boston reports that a new Massachusetts state law went into effect that requires day care providers to help children brush their teeth after a meal or if they spend more than four hours in daycare. According to the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care website, children must use individual labeled toothbrushes which must be stored in a safe and sanitary manner.

While this is a state law, parents can actually choose to opt out. I wonder why any parent would want to. While it is weird, it is clearly a law that is meant to promote healthy teeth! With concerns about the increase in dental disease (tooth decay) among young children, the state of Massachusetts adopted the new regulation to promote oral health and prevent tooth decay.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "When done
routinely and properly, toothbrushing can reduce the amount of plaque which contains the bacteria associated with gum disease and tooth decay, as well as provide the cavity preventing benefits of fluoride."

Daycares in the state of Massachusetts must have toothbrushes, fluoride toothpaste, toothbrush labels and storage systems, and disposable cups for rinsing. Daycare workers are advised to keep toothpaste stored in a locked cabinet.

Daycares are also advised to use mint flavored toothpastes since other flavored toothpastes encourage children to ingest toothpaste. Ingestion of toothpaste is not recommended. The law requires that daycare providers dispense the toothpaste and assist all of the children with brushing their teeth.

Hopefully this will help the state get its numbers on children's tooth decay down. WCBV Boston quotes Dr. Maria Georgaklis, a pediatric dentist who works at Cleveland Circle Dental Associates as saying: "One out of four children have tooth decay. Fifty percent of them aren't treated."

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