PHILADELPHIA (Reuters Life!) - Just a day after Halloween two Pennsylvania dentists are offering a candy buyback program to save the teeth of young trick-or-treaters and boost the morale of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dentists Nalin and Arpan Patel, of Fairless Hills near Philadelphia, say they will pay $1 a pound (0.45 kg) to parents and children who turn in excess candy collected on Halloween. The proceeds will be sent to U.S. troops serving in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
"Not only will it save your teeth, our troops that are serving our country overseas will be able to enjoy a Halloween away from home," the dentists said in a statement.
Americans consume about 24 pounds (10.9 kg) of candy a year and most of that is believed to be at Halloween, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The American Dental Association urged parents to be aware of the damage too much candy can do to young teeth.
"This Halloween and throughout the year, the American Dental Association advises not to play decay-causing tricks on your teeth," it said in a statement.
Children seeking sweet treats from their neighbors on Halloween commonly come home with pounds of candy scooped up from baskets held out by home-owners or left on front porches where the roving groups can help themselves.
Children often eat too many of the free sweets on Halloween night and for days or weeks afterwards, boosting consumption well above normal levels.
But so much free candy can overwhelm even the sweetest tooth, and may encourage its recipients to give up their proceeds to the buyback program.
The dentists are accepting candy from November 1-5, and hope what is collected will cheer U.S. troops overseas.
"Now during these hard times, the spirit of giving and helping is needed more than ever," they said.
Reporting by Jon Hurdle; Editing by Patricia Reaney