New regulations in Massachusetts require that preschools add toothbrush time to the school day. Children who eat a meal at day care or attend for more than four hours will be supervised brushing their teeth and educated about oral health. The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care established the regulations to help prevent dental disease. According to a 2003 study, one in four Massachusetts kindergartners have tooth decay.
So, brushing at school sounds good in theory. But in practice? How do two teachers help 30 four year olds without the motor skills to brush correctly? How do they maintain sanitation? How do the children spit out? Avoid spreading germs? Keep the brushes clean and replaced when worn? Avoid swallowing toothpaste? Seems ill advised to me. How about focusing on what the children eat for lunch instead? Perhaps if the children ate an apple for dessert instead of Hostess Cupcakes they would not have so much plaque and dental decay.
More on children’s dental health on my website.