BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Inside the bag of the average trick-or-treater is the equivalent of three cups of sugar – that's almost 5,000 calories. Local dental clinics offer ways to cut those calories or get rid of them altogether.
Kool Smiles on Government St. is one of several places kids can trade in their candy. Through Wednesday, Nov. 4th they can pick out one toy for every 25 pieces of unopened candy. Other offices offer cash.
"Every kid likes a toy," said Dr. Ehidanmegbe Akharume. "I mean we use it every day as an incentive just to get the dental work done. For them to give up a couple treats of their own and get a big toy, I mean that'll be an incentive for anyone."
It's called 'Operation Troop Treats,' and all the sweet stuff ends up overseas in the hands of our brave men and women in uniform. But some of that candy will undoubtedly end up inside little tummies.
"Halloween does kick off our high sugar intake season. I mean you have Halloween, then you go on to Thanksgiving and then Christmas," Akharume said.
To minimize the impact on the chompers, children should avoid hard candies and other treats that spend a long time dissolving. In addition to causing chips, the amount of time sweets stay in the mouth plays a major role in tooth decay.
Parents should also limit the amount of sticky or chewy candy. Those can loosen fillings and other dental work and easily get stuck.
"We have grooves of the teeth, and the sticky candy tends to migrate toward those grooves, and that's the place where cavities usually start," Dr. Akharume explained. "So we try to stay away from the ones that migrate to those areas of the teeth."
Grab a glass of water to wash down all those sweets. When teeth are in constant contact with candy and sugary drinks, there's an increased risk of tooth decay. Water helps flush the sugar away.
Experts also say you should never try to open candy packaging with your teeth. That kind of wear and tear can also lead to chips and cracks.
Finally, use Halloween as a teaching moment. It's the perfect opportunity for lessons in moderation, sharing, and proper oral health. Brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing regularly makes the candy bowl a lot less scary.
The following clinics offer $1 per pound of candy, up to five pounds. That candy also goes to troops overseas.
November 2 – 6
Shea Family Dentistry
1930 Perkins Rd.
November 2 – 4
Grand Family Dentistry
12117 Coursey Blvd.
Advanced Dental Care
703 S Range Ave., Denham Springs