Halloween candy 'buyback' program: Good for kids' teeth and soldiers overseas

Denver, CO (KDVR) -- All your little ghosts and goblins probably pulled in a good haul of candy Friday night. And while they are, no doubt, delighted you might be less enthusiastic about all that sugar.

But a Halloween Candy Buyback program can help you get rid of some of that cache of confections.

Candy are the wages kids earn going door-to-door on Halloween.

But those gains can make parents worry about their kids losing teeth.

"Sugar is bad for your teeth. What bacteria in our mouth do is metabolize sugar and create acid," says Pediatric Dentist Naomi Lane, who teaches at the CU School of Dental Medicine.

She says that acid weakens the enamel and causes holes in your teeth, or cavities. But the buyback program can help parents get rid of some of the sugar surplus.

"We promote healthy habits to our community by allowing them to being in unopened candy for one dollar a pound up to five pounds," says Kathleen Pecoraro of Dental Horizons in Longmont.

Other dentists do not have limits on the number of pounds kids can bring in.

Last year, Dental Horizons collected 500 pounds of candy.

Then, they shipped all those sweets to soldiers overseas through Operation Gratitude.

Nearly 3,000 dentists nationwide take part, including a dentist in California who collected nearly 5,500 pounds of candy last year.

"The parents get to help their children understand healthy eating and the kids win because they get something in exchange for giving away their candy," says Pecoraro.

But what's the best candy to give away?

"Candies that are more detrimental to teeth are candy that stay on the teeth for a longer time. Things that are gummy, that stick to the back grooves of the teeth. Things that are sour are also very bad. They have lot acid in them to start with," says Lane.

And the best to keep are sugarless or hard candies, those that melt away, including chocolate–or even non-candy.

"We handed out toothpaste and sugarless gum. And as a kid we were never egged or 'TP'd.' But it's something I always feared every year," chuckles Lane.

For more on where to donate candy locally, click here.