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Laura Dorr is the executive editor of DPR's Modern Dental Network.
Halloween season can feel like a real-life horror movie for dentists, with all of the candy, sweets and sugar damaging seemingly healthy smiles. This year, help your patients avoid the dental risks of too much sugar with a Halloween candy buy-back program.
Candy buy-back programs encourage children to donate or trade in their Halloween candy for a small reward, reducing the amount of sugar they consume and promoting good oral health. Some practices offer $1 per pound of candy that a child turns in, or give participants goody bags filled with healthier treats or prizes.
Programs such as Halloween Candy Buy Back (HCBB) take things one step further. Now in its 10th year, the national HCBB program partners with Operation Gratitude, an organization that ships over 100,000 care packages per year to troops serving abroad. Operation Gratitude includes the candy collected by HCBB in care packages to give soldiers a well-deserved sweet treat. During the duration of this partnership, the HCBB program has collected over 130 tons of candy to be included in the packages. But don’t worry about the troops’ teeth: Many of the care packages also include toothbrushes!
So this year, “trick” those kids into donating their candy to give the troops a treat! Whether you partner with HCBB, or do a program on your own, Halloween candy buy-back programs give practices a chance to educate children and families on good oral health habits, while also promoting good nutrition – and helping reduce the number of horrifying cavities walking through the doors in coming months!