Via KIWI Magazine
Candy Buy Back Program Helps Kids Get Braces
Orthodontists donate services to help kids in need of treatment.
Children get inundated with candy at this time of year, and more than 50 percent of kids with braces visit the orthodontist after Halloween because of damage caused by eating candy. You can save your kids’ teeth while also helping a child whose family otherwise couldn’t provide orthodontic care by donating candy through the Donated Orthodontic Services Program.
“It’s impossible to not have candy over Halloween,” says Christina Carter, D.D.S, a pediatric dentist and orthodontist based in New York City. “But we can steer children to make wiser choices.”
Her office is participating in the Donated Orthodontic Services Program for the first time this year.
“Bring us your candy and we’ll pay you for it. Then we’ll provide care to children who do not qualify for orthodontics insurance, cannot afford it, and absolutely have a need,” Dr. Carter said. “We have thousands of children receive care because of this.”
Most orthodontists match whatever they pay to their patients (usually between $1 and $2 for every pound of candy they receive) and then find ways to donate the candy they collect. They might give it to a children’s hospital for kids who are too sick to go trick-or-treating, to food pantries, or to people serving in the military.
In 2012, dentists who participated in buy-back programs sent 125 tons of candy overseas.
Dr. Carter said the Donated Orthodontic Services Program is currently operating in seven states—Indiana, Kansas, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Illinois—and is expected to expand. Some orthodontists and dentists also participate in buy-back campaigns outside this program.
Since kids won’t want to donate all their candy, Dr. Carter suggests that kids who wear braces give up the sticky or hard candies and keep the chocolate-based candies that don’t stick to or pull braces.
“Softer things are better and kinder to braces,” Dr. Carter says.