Kool Smiles dental office in Rock Hill is coordinating for the fifth year “Operation Troop Treats,” a program that helps give kids’ teeth a post-Halloween break while giving U.S. troops serving overseas a sweet reminder of home.
The program encourages children and their families to visit the local Kool Smiles dental office from Friday, Oct. 28, through Saturday, Nov. 5, to exchange their Halloween candy for toys. The donated candy will be sent in care packages to U.S. service members stationed overseas via Operation Gratitude.
“Operation Troop Treats is our way of encouraging children and parents to maintain healthy dental habits this Halloween while also bringing a little bit of holiday joy to U.S. service members deployed overseas who are not able to celebrate with family here at home,” said Dr. Brad Bryan, Kool Smiles managing dental director. “Good dental health is especially important around Halloween when there’s plenty of sugar-filled sweets floating about. We want to make trick-or-treating fun – just without the cavities.”
In addition to Operation Troop Treats, Kool Smiles is donating 200 dental care kits for service members stationed abroad, as well as paying for the assembly and shipment of 200 care packages.
“We’re extremely grateful for the sacrifices made by American servicemen and women and their families. That’s why we eagerly partner with Operation Gratitude each year – an organization annually producing more than 200,000 care packages for U.S. service members deployed in hostile regions, their children left behind, wounded heroes, veterans, new recruits and first responders,” Bryan said. “This is a great way for local families to give back to our troops serving abroad, while also maintaining good dental habits at home during the Halloween season.”
Every child who comes into the Rock Hill Kool Smiles office at 2349 Cherry Road, Suite 49, can receive one toy for every 25 pieces of unopened candy in its original packaging. The program is open to all children, regardless of whether they are a Kool Smiles patient. There is a limit of three toys per child and toys are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Halloween is an especially important time for parents to pay close attention to their children’s dental health and sugar intake, Bryan said. According to new guidelines from the American Heart Association, experts recommend children consume less than six teaspoons of added sugars per day, which is equivalent to 25 grams and 100 calories.
“Sugar creates a breeding ground for harmful bacteria in the mouth, which wear away at tooth enamel and create cavities,” Bryan said. “Reducing the frequency of sugar intake is not just good for your children’s teeth, it’s good for the whole body. In addition to keeping cavities at bay, limiting the amount of sugar children eat and drink can also lower their risk of developing other health problems, like heart disease, obesity, and Type II diabetes.”
For more information on the program, including the nearest Kool Smiles location, go to www.mykoolsmiles.com/trooptreats.
About Operation Gratitude
Operation Gratitude annually sends 200,000 or more care packages to veterans, first responders, new recruits, wounded service people, caregivers, and to individually named U.S. service members deployed overseas and their families waiting at home. Each package is filled with food, entertainment, hygiene tools and hand-made items, as well as personal letters of support. The mission is to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of the military and first responder communities and to provide volunteer opportunities for civilians to express appreciation to those who serve our nation. Each package contains donated products valued between $45 and $100 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than 1.6 million care packages.