Monday, October 28, 2013

Why send candy to troops?

The planning for our 6th Annual Great Candy Buy Back underwritten by Banner Bank is well underway.  As a reminder, here are the details:

Friday, Nov 1st
4pm - 8pm
Children will get a dollar for each pound of candy they bring in.   We'll also be handing out goody bags with Firefly toothbrushes and other fun stuff!
Parents will be able to enter to win prizes.
Candy will be shipped to troops overseas through Operation Gratitude

Dr. Jared got a question via e-mail once about our buy back that he'd like us to share with everyone:

I have a really good question. Why do you want the troops overseas to eat the candy the kids get at Halloween? Adults get cavities too and are prone to obesity and hyperactivity if they eat too much candy. This doesn't make any sense to me.

Here is our response:

You do, indeed, ask a very good question.  I want to reassure you that we do care about the oral health of not only the children in our area, but the adults who are courageously serving the US in hostile countries. 

We have chosen Operation Gratitude as the organization that we go through to recognize our appreciation for our country's soldiers. The care packages that Operation Gratitude assembles fit into a 12" x 12" x 5" box. This box could probably hold 3-5 lbs of candy.  The packages, however, are not made entirely of candy.  The care packages include other things such as DVDs, stuffed animals, stacks of greeting cards, socks, scarves, CDs, and more.  I would estimate that none of the packages contain more than 2 lbs of candy.  Some of the kids that bring in candy bring in less than 2 lbs.  Most, however, bring in plenty more.  In most cases, we're distributing the candy from one child to multiple service members. 

Although there is no way to track what the one service member does with the one package they receive, I am told that the items in these care packages are often shared with the other members of their team.  There are also reports of troops using the candy to befriend the children in the areas in which they serve, making their territory just a bit less hostile.  So, of the up to 2 lbs of candy that is delivered to one member of the military, it is likely that it is not all eaten by that one individual.  

Another way that we mitigate the effects of the candy on the recipient is by sending toothbrushes and toothpaste to Operation Gratitude.  In the last few years, we've shipped almost 300 toothbrushes and tubes of  toothpaste to be included in the holiday care packages.

The price of the candy and shipping charges are well worth it to us.  Check out these videos that show how amazing this cause is:

In conclusion,  Dr. Evans believes that candy should be enjoyed by children who have trick-or-treated to earn it, but it is not healthy for anybody to enjoy it in excess.  His suggestion:  Eat a little, save a little to enjoy for the few days following Halloween and then get rid of the rest before having candy daily becomes a habit that is hard to change.  Why not turn that excess candy into a good deed for another?  We're happy to buy that candy from children to give it to others who will be uplifted by the gesture and who should enjoy it, as well. 

If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us again!

What do you think?  Should we reconsider our efforts to buy back candy and send to troops?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body

Over the past 10 years, researchers have uncovered links between oral health and systemic diseases. Many of these connections begin in childhood but become apparent only in adults. Others directly affect children.

Appearing to be the common thread between mouth and body health, inflammation is the result of bacterial infections. For instance, infection of the gums, called periodontitis, can develop in both children and adults. When the gums become infected, chemical signals attract cells of the immune system to the infected site. As the immune system fights the infection, the gums become swollen, painful and bleed easily. The pain and soreness, just like pain from a cavity, can cause children to lose sleep, become distracted at school, eat poorly and develop low self-esteem—all conditions that interfere with school performance. If left untreated, periodontitis also can damage the jawbone, resulting in loose or lost teeth.

Untreated inflammation in the mouth is also thought to stimulate inflammation in the blood vessels. This increases blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and heart attack later in life. The reason for this connection remains under investigation.

Researchers have also found a strong correlation between periodontal disease and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to convert sugar to energy is impaired. The level of sugar in the blood rises, leading to a myriad of serious health problems. Although diabetes is most often an adult problem, the rate of type 2 diabetes in children has increased substantially, in tandem with the increased rate of childhood obesity.

Researchers are not sure just how periodontitis relates to diabetes. The direction of the causation has not been determined. People with diabetes may be more likely to develop gum infections and vice versa. Preventing and treating periodontal disease is one small way to help people control their diabetes.

Good dental habits, such as eating healthy foods, avoiding excess sugar, brushing and flossing daily, having regular dental visits, and treating tooth decay and gum disease early, help keep the mouth—and the body—healthy.

Image credit: <a href=''>sbworld8 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>