Halloween can be a scary time for dentists. But Dr. Jerry Udelson of Children’s Dentistry has found a way to curb sugar consumption and protect the teeth of dozens of young trick-or-treaters.
On the day after Halloween, kids can take their trick-or-treating loot to Children’s Dentistry at 1129 S. Harlem Ave. and sell their Snickers, Tootsie Pops and other goodies for $1 a pound. The candy, in turn, will be donated to U.S. troops overseas.
“It’s kind of a win-win for everybody,” said Udelson, the owner of the practice. “It gets less candy in the children’s mouths and then we are sharing it with the troops as a thank you for doing a great job for us. The parents, too, are happy that the candy is out of the house.”
Believe it or not, many kids are willing to give up their candy stash, he said, though some more reluctantly than others. In fact, last year, during the program’s first run, Children’s Dentistry collected more than 400 pounds of candy. This year they are expecting more than 500 pounds.
“We had a couple of boys last year that were just monster trick-or-treaters, and they had 10 pounds of candy each,” said Paula Line, practice relations coordinator.
After the kids trade in their sweets for crisp, brand new single dollar bills, they have the opportunity to write a special note to send to the soldiers. Children’s Dentistry, along with the organization Helping Our Heroes, will also be collecting small stuffed animals, nuts, dried fruit, personal hygiene items, DVDs and CDs for the military care packages.
Anyone interested in the candy buy back program, which also takes place at dentist offices across the country, can stop by Children’s Dentistry on Nov. 1 from 3 to 6 p.m. Kids will also receive a free glowing toothbrush.
Children’s Dentistry, which specializes in pediatric dentistry and serves children as little as one week old, has been in Forest Park for six years. Udelson said they plan to expand their office building with the potential of adding a full-time orthodontist. So far, they have purchased a home that was just north of the office on Harlem Ave. and has since been razed. They plan to build more operative rooms and possibly an extra consulting room.
“We’re hoping to break ground in the spring time,” Udelson said.