ATLANTA, Oct. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kool Smiles, a leading U.S. provider of quality dental care in underserved communities, is coordinating for the fourth year 'Operation Troop Treats,' a nationwide program designed to promote good dental hygiene during the Halloween season and give kids the opportunity to send overseas troops a sweet reminder of home. Operation Troop Treats encourages children to trade their Halloween candy in exchange for a toy at 125 Kool Smiles offices nationwide. The candy will then be sent in care packages to U.S. troops serving abroad via Operation Gratitude. Since 2012, Kool Smiles has collected more than five tons of donated candy and sent 800 care packages to troops through Operation Troop Treats.
"Operation Troop Treats is our way of encouraging kids and their parents to maintain good dental health this Halloween while providing an opportunity to give back to our brave U.S. soldiers serving overseas," said Dr. D Ray Gifford, Managing Dental Director for Kool Smiles. "Limiting the amount of sugar-filled sweets eaten during Halloween, along with encouraging healthy eating, brushing and flossing habits, can help reduce the risk of cavities. Sending some of these sweets to our troops abroad - along with dental kits to encourage good oral hygiene for them, too - is a win-win for everyone. We don't want to take the fun out of Trick or Treating - just the cavities!"
In addition to the exchange program, Kool Smiles is donating 200 dental kits for troops to Operation Gratitude, as well as the funds to cover the assembly and shipment of 200 Operation Gratitude care packages. Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3), volunteer-based organization that annually produces more than 100,000 care packages for U.S. Service Members deployed in harm's way, their children left behind, New Recruits, Wounded Warriors, Veterans and First Responders. Since 2007, Operation Gratitude has encouraged dentists to collect Halloween candy from their patients for donation to the troops through their Halloween Candy Buy-Back initiative. To date, Kool Smiles has organized the largest Candy Buy-Back effort by a dental organization participating on a national level.
"We're extremely grateful that Kool Smiles is continuing 'Operation Troop Treats' for a fourth year. As the largest dental donor to our Halloween candy program, Operation Troop Treats has enabled more and more children to donate candy each year, and to make a huge impact on the lives of our Armed Forces members," said Operation Gratitude Founder Carolyn Blashek. "During Halloween, the kindness of small children donating their candy puts a smile on the faces of servicemen and women and lifts their morale. Kool Smiles' additional commitment to donate dental care kits and operational funds helps us send our valuable packages to our troops and is deeply appreciated."
All Kool Smiles offices throughout the country are participating in Operation Troop Treats during business hours from Friday, October 30 through Wednesday, November 4. The program is open to everyone, regardless of whether they are Kool Smiles patients. Every child that takes part will 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 are distributed on a first come, first served basis.
Brushing twice daily and getting regular dental checkups is vital for people of all ages. However, Halloween is an especially important time for parents to pay close attention to their children's dental health. Good oral care can prevent complex and expensive procedures, as well as contribute to a child's overall health and wellbeing. Poor oral health, on the other hand, can contribute to significant health issues and costs later in life.
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 New Recruits, 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 1.1 Million packages to American Military members.
SOURCE Kool Smiles