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Dentists collect Halloween candy booty to save young teeth, treat troops

Ursula McMillin tosses handfuls of candy into boxes. Pediatric Dental Care and Happy Valley Orthodontics held its 5th Annual Halloween candy buyback on Monday. The candy is donated to Operation Gratitude, which sends it to soldiers overseas.
Ursula McMillin tosses handfuls of candy into boxes. Pediatric Dental Care and Happy Valley Orthodontics held its 5th Annual Halloween candy buyback on Monday. The candy is donated to Operation Gratitude, which sends it to soldiers overseas. CDT photo

Skylyte Owens has a goal for her next dentist appointment in January.

No cavities.

She was among about 100 children who swapped Halloween candy for money at Pediatric Dental Care and Happy Valley Orthodontics’ 5th annual Great Halloween Candy Buy Back. The dentistry gave children $1 for each pound of candy they turned in.

Dental hygienist Emily Janoscrat said sweets sold back to the dentistry would be sent to Operation Gratitude, which delivers care packages to U.S. service members overseas.

“We do it to prevent cavities, to get excess candy out of the house.” Janoscrat said. “We like kids to have fun trick-or-treating and eating some of the candy, but it’s good to turn the rest in so they’re not continually going back to the candy. The other reason is for the soldiers and to do something nice for them.”

Skylyte, 10, learned about the candy buy-back last week when she got a cavity filled.

“I didn’t like getting the filling, so I decided to get rid of most of my Halloween candy,” Skylyte, of Ferguson Township, said. “I kept some Hershey and Reese’s.”

Sadie, 7, and Luke McGraw, 5, took in 11 combined pounds of candy — so much that their paper bags began to rip.

They each kept 10 pieces of candy, mostly Reese’s and Kit Kats, at home to eat later and took the rest of their loot to the candy buy-back.

“They’ll do anything for some money,” their mother Meghan McGraw, of College Township, said. “I think we’ll try to get them to save it for Christmas money.”

Other siblings also worked together to decide what sweets to keep or sell.

Chelsea, 9, and Dustin Snook, 5, kept Gummi Bears and gum.

“I wanted the money more than the candy, but I don’t know what I’m going to do with it yet,” Chelsea, of Spring Township, said.

Each child was entered into a drawing for a $50 Wal-Mart gift card or Kindle Fire.

They also wrote notes to service members overseas.

“I decided I wanted to thank them for their service and tell them how much it meant to me,” Skylyte said.

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