Kool Smiles Offices Nationwide Encourage Halloween Candy Exchange

Second Annual 'Operation Troop Treats' Encourages Kids to Donate Halloween Candy to Soldiers in Exchange for a Toy

ATLANTA, Oct. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kool Smiles, a leading provider of quality dental care in underserved communities, is coordinating for the second year a nationwide program designed to promote dental hygiene in kids during the Halloween season. Called 'Operation Troop Treats,' the program offers children the opportunity to trade in their Halloween candy for a choice of a toy at over 125 offices nationwide Kool Smiles or Resolution Dental Offices. The candy will then be sent in care packages to U.S. troops serving overseas via Operation Gratitude. In 2012, more than one ton of candy was donated by children for the troops at Kool Smiles Offices. With this effort, Kool Smiles wants to make proper dental care a part of every family's Halloween.

"An overload of treats can do some damage on kids' teeth," explained Kool Smiles Managing Dental Director Dr. Polly Boehnlein, DDS. "Around Halloween, children are consuming more candy and with this increased frequency of sugary and sticky candies, many kids are increasing their risk of getting cavities or making existing oral health problems worse. This program not only raises awareness of good dental hygiene and encourages parents and children to reduce the amount of sugar they are exposing their teeth to, but it also hopefully uplifts our armed forces serving abroad who will receive Halloween candy-filled care packages, along with dental kits and oral health guides to ensure our troops have healthy, happy teeth as well."

In addition to the exchange program, Kool Smiles is donating 100 dental care packages for troops to Operation Gratitude, as well as the funds to cover the assembly and shipment of 200 care packages. Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3), volunteer-based organization that annually produces over 100,000 care packages for U.S. Service Members deployed in harm's way, their children left behind, Wounded Warriors, Veterans and First Responders. For the past six years, Operation Gratitude, through the Halloween Candy Buy-Back initiative, has encouraged dentists to collect Halloween candy from their patients for donation to the troops. The Kool Smiles program is the largest Candy Buy-Back effort by a dental organization participating on a national level.

"We are so glad that Kool Smiles is participating again this year as their large scale support of the program last year greatly contributed to its success," said Operation Gratitude Founder and President Carolyn Blashek. "Receiving treats like Halloween candy remind our Armed Forces of home sweet home and we hope lifts their morale. The fact that Kool Smiles once again takes their commitment a step further by donating dental care kits and operational funds is very appreciated and helps us make sure we are sending valuable and useable care packages to our troops."

All Kool Smiles offices throughout the country are participating in Operation Troop Treats during business hours on Friday, November 1 through Wednesday, November 6. The program is open to everyone, regardless of whether they are a Kool Smiles patient. Every child that takes part can receive one toy for every 25 pieces of unopened candy in its original intended packaging. There is a limit of three toys per child and toys will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.

While brushing twice daily and getting regular dental checkups is important for people of all ages, Halloween is a good time for parents to pay close attention to their children's dental health. Good oral care can not only prevent complex and expensive procedures but contribute to a child's overall health and well-being; poor oral health can contribute to significant health issues such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes as children grow older.

For more information on the program, including the nearest Kool Smiles location, please visit http://www.mykoolsmiles.com/trooptreats.

About Kool Smiles

Kool Smiles is dedicated to creating a world of happy, healthy smiles. As a leading dental health provider, Kool Smiles' mission is to improve lives by providing high quality dental care in a fun, compassionate environment. Kool Smiles dentists are proud to offer care to kids and adults with almost any insurance plan, including State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), Medicaid and Tricare. Kool Smiles also provides oral health education programs through partnerships with community schools and organizations. For more information, please visit www.mykoolsmiles.com.

About Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude annually sends 100,000+ care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in hostile regions, to their children left behind, and to Veterans, Emergency First Responders and Wounded Warriors. Operation Gratitude's mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member's face and express to our Armed Forces the appreciation and support of the American people. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than 980,000 packages to American Military members.

SOURCE Kool Smiles



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