‘Bye, bye, Sugar Bugs’

Hood River children’s dentist will buy back Halloween sweets

A Hood River pediatric dentist is offering to sweeten the pot for area children by paying cash for their Halloween candy.

Professionals from the Dr. J. Kyle House practice will have a table and scale set up in the foyer of the office at 419 State Street from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 1. They plan to purchase bags of holiday treats for 50 cents per pound and arrange free consultations for interested guardians.

“We’re hoping to have a huge turnout, we’ll be prepared to buy back hundreds of pounds,” said House, who provides services to an average of 50 children per day.

The pediatric specialist admits that the new cavity prevention program is a little unusual, but he believes it will also serve as an good educational outreach tool.

“It’s not what you eat, it’s what happens after you eat it,” said House. “Our emergency rate from pain, especially that from untreated cavities, goes up the day after Halloween.”

He said one piece of candy is the equivalent of putting a tablespoon of sugar into the mouth of a child. The sweet substance then attracts harmful bacteria which turns it into an acid that attacks teeth, according to House.

“We want to chase the ‘sugar bugs’ out of Hood River,” said Susie Bresin, office manager, in reference to the term substituted in the clinic for the word “cavity.”

House set up practice in Hood River County three years ago and said there is a growing cavity problem among the youngest population that he would like to stop. He said the most pro-active steps parents can take to prevent tooth decay is to limit sweets and have their child brush and floss daily.

Staffers from the dental clinic will be prepared to answer any and all questions about dental care during the buy-back of candy and sign up children, ages 21 and under, or special needs adults for a free screening. “What else could we do that would help out and give us the opportunity to meet more people to give our prevention spiel,” said House, who is unsure of what he will do with his candy purchases.

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