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Kool Smiles Offers Halloween Candy Exchange at Offices Nationwide

'Operation Troop Treats' encourages kids to send their Halloween candy to soldiers and promotes good dental hygiene

ATLANTA, Oct. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Kool Smiles, a leading provider of quality dental care in underserved communities nationwide, today announced a 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 one of the 132 Kool Smiles Dental Offices.  The candy will then be sent in care packages to U.S. troops serving overseas via Operation Gratitude.  With this effort, Kool Smiles wants to make proper dental care a part of every family's Halloween.

"Halloween can be especially rough on kids' teeth," explained Kool Smiles Regional Dental Director Priya Grewal, DDS.   "The increased frequency of candy intake for many children around this holiday can increase the risk of and/or cause cavities or exacerbate existing oral health problems.  This program encourages parents and children across the country to reduce the frequency their teeth are exposed to sugars by exchanging some of their candy for a fun toy."

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 five 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 excited that Kool Smiles is making the effort to contribute on such a large scale this year," said Operation Gratitude Founder and President Carolyn Blashek.  "We know that receiving treats like Halloween candy lifts the morale of our Armed Forces, and the fact that Kool Smiles took it a step further by donating dental care kits and operational funds was a great bonus that ensures we can send very fun and full packages to the troops."

Brushing twice daily and getting regular dental checkups is important for people of all ages, and Halloween is a particularly good time for parents to pay close attention to their children's dental health. Good oral care can greatly contribute to a person´s overall well-being, and as children grow older, poor oral health is linked with significant health issues such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

All 132 Kool Smiles offices throughout the country are participating from opening time on Thursday, November 1st until close of business on Saturday, November 3rd.  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 (individual sticks of gum, for example, will not be accepted).  There is a limit of three toys per child and toys will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.

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 harm's way, to their children left behind, and to Veterans, Emergency First Responders and Wounded Warriors. The organization's mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member's face and express to our Military and their families the appreciation and support of the American people. Each package contains donated product valued at $75-100 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship.

SOURCE Kool Smiles

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