Massachusetts Tells Preschools to Brush Kids’ Teeth
In an article about Massachusetts’ new law requiring certain preschools and day care centers to teach children how to brush their teeth, the New York Times quoted a teacher who opposes the regulation:
“I don’t want someone’s hand in my child’s mouth,” said Sarah Brodsky, a teacher at First Path Day Care in Watertown and mother of 4-month-old Noah. “It’s a little too much” government intervention, Ms. Brodsky added.
I’m not the Sarah Brodsky in this article, although we do have the same name and her quote is basically what I would have said. She’s right; the decision of whether to incorporate teeth brushing into the school day should be left to preschools and day care centers.
The new law is an intrusion into preschool management, and the fact that parents can opt out is little consolation from a preschool director’s point of view. Every preschool now has to set up sinks and take time away from other activities in order to brush teeth, all while keeping track of which students’ parents opted out. Preschool teachers are sure to hear complaints from parents if one child sticks someone else’s toothbrush in his mouth, or if an opted-out child inadvertently gets into the toothpaste. Those kinds of mix-ups are unavoidable when you have a bunch of little kids brushing their teeth at the same time.
I hope Missouri won’t follow Massachusetts’ lead and mandate teeth brushing in day care centers. But now that I think about it, I don’t know whether the in-school dental care policy would catch on in Missouri — people would probably demand taxpayer-funded home visits!