It may be hard to believe, but dentists like Halloween too. While they encourage trick or treaters to brush twice a day, floss once a day and visit the dentist every six months, dental professionals are getting creative with the sugar-filled holiday.
Dental associations across the country are asking kids to donate some of their candy to the Halloween Candy Buyback Program, a campaign started to get sweets "off the streets." With cash, coupons, toothbrushes and other goody bags, participating dentists buy unopened Halloween candy from neighborhood kids at scheduled events. After the candy is collected, it is shipped to a non-profit organization called Operation Gratitude, based in California. There, volunteers fill care packages and send them to soldiers overseas. Each year Operation Gratitude receives hundreds of pounds of candy that they donate to troops.
This Halloween, the Pennsylvania Dental Association is joining the Candy Buyback Program.
"This is our first year to participate, and we are very excited to be participating in the program," said Dr. Rina K. Singh, a PDA member from Camp Hill, told DentistryIQ. "By donating candy, the kids are given a very unique privilege to do something special for our military and help make our military heroes aware of what their service means to us as U.S. citizens."
On top of supporting our troops, the program helps reduce the amount of sugar children eat. Sugar is the fuel that causes tooth decay, which is the most common chronic disease in children. It also raises the risk for gingivitis and bad breath. According to DentistryIQ, global sugar consumption for kids is at 50 million tons per year. However, tooth decay and other oral health problems can be prevented!
Parents are encouraged to keep an eye on the amount of candy their children consume and be aware when one more chocolate bar is one too many.
Candy 'off the streets'
So, what does it really take to persuade kids to get rid of their candy? In the PDA's office, each child will receive a special surprise envelope for each pound of candy they donate. Envelopes may contain a $5 bill, $2 bill, $1 gold coin, McDonald's coupon, Burger King coupon booklet, Wendy's coupon for a free frosty or an opportunity to choose a toy from the office's prize box.
Moms, dads and kids can trade in their candy for money and prizes to support the troops. Check out the Candy Buyback Program for more details.