In the days after Halloween, leftover candy seems to linger indefinitely. It shows up in office break rooms and on receptionists’ desks, tempting passers-by to dig into the big plastic bowl just one more time.
Local dentists are encouraging another tradition. They’re encouraging patients and others in the community to skip the extra Snickers and bring it to their office instead, where people will receive $1 for every collected pound of candy.
Olga Kaptar, business manager at Make a Smile dentist office in Elk Grove, said her office collected more than 500 pounds of candy last year. They have not yet counted their collection this year but will continue accepting contributions until Saturday.
Local dentists accept candy for up to two weeks after Halloween before sending it to California nonprofit group Operation Gratitude, who help sort and package the sweets into care packages for American soldiers overseas. The care packages contain dental hygiene products as well as candy.
“(Kids) get bags and bags of candy which is way more than anyone should be eating,” Kaptar said. “This helps us keep our patients cavity-free, and helps our military troops, who don’t usually get to see candy wherever they’re stationed.”
The average American eats 3.5 pounds of candy on Halloween, which adds up to about three cups of sugar, according to the National Retail Federation.
A lot of that comes from week-after candy, which is often collected by children but eaten by adults, Kaptar said. It’s of particular concern to dentists because of the tendency to scarf down sticky sweets and not brush teeth right afterward. Kaptar recommends brushing teeth immediately after eating candy, or at least rinsing your mouth with water to prevent cavities.
At Smile Kingdom Dental in Rancho Cordova, practice manager Danielle Mendoza helped collect 200 pounds of candy, but only ended up giving out $40 because so many people wanted to donate it for free, she said. Two of Mendoza’s siblings have served in Afghanistan, she said, so she knows how much the treats mean to them.
“When they dropped the candy, they said it was better than gold to the soldiers,” she said. “They’re going without so many things that we’re so accustomed to. So when they have a Snickers or a Twix, it’s amazing to them.”
You can bring your candy to one of the locations listed. Be sure to confirm it’s still accepting donations.
Ascot Family Dental
125 Ascot Drive, Suite D, Roseville
Chalmers Dental Inc.
1820 Professional Drive, #5, Sacramento
Nikki Chauhan DDS
7230 South Land Park Drive Suite 123, Sacramento
Couch and Hammond Family Dentistry
260 Palladio Parkway #1001, Folsom
Designs in Dentistry
100 Iron Point Circle, Folsom
Enchanted Dental Care
6600 Madison Avenue, Suite 12, Carmichael
Make a Smile
2190 E. Bidwell St., Folsom
9585 Laguna Springs Dr. #120, Elk Grove
3433 Arden Way, Sacramento
Sacramento Spa Dentistry
2441 Garfield Ave, Carmichael
Smile Kingdom Dental
2340 Sunrise Blvd. #25, Rancho Cordova
Surfside Kids Dental
2615 Riverside Blvd., Sacramento
Laguna Creek Town Center, 5010 Laguna Blvd. Suite 101, Elk Grove
Jill D. Whitney, DDS
5665 Freeport Blvd. Suite 1, Sacramento