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Dentist Tries to Pay Kids to Give Up Their Halloween Candy

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A surprising number of kids really don’t know the monetary value of their huge candy stash

One dentist in New Jersey really doesn’t want to have to fill any cavities this year. In an attempt to get kids to eat healthier and prevent tooth decay, Dr. Robin Lucas is introducing a “Candy Buy-Back” for children in Hoboken, New Jersey. Trick-or-treaters are encouraged to bring in their Halloween candy in exchange for $5 and a toothbrush.

“Personally, I’m not a candy fan,” Lucas told ABC News. “So when my kids go trick-or-treating, they come home and they have to dump it.”

But Lucas didn’t want kids to dump it in disappointment. So the idea dawned on her — she could reward kids for relinquishing their candy. Five years ago, she started implementing the idea for patients of her private practice. This year, however, she’s opening the opportunity to her local community.

The collected candy is then repurposed through donation to branches of the military — an adult population that Lucas is considerably less concerned about when it comes to oral hygiene.

In the past, Lucas has forked over at least $500 to children willing to part ways with even their sweetest treats. That means at least 100 residents of Hoboken thought $5 was more valuable than dozens of candies.

“They’re all excited because they’re going to get $5, and to them $5 is a lot of money,” Meliza Resto, an employee at Lucas’s practice, told ABC. “Who thought they were going to be happy about not eating candy!”

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Of course, getting rid of all candy isn’t the only option. A healthy, unrestricted candy habit is possible for your kids, so long as you’re open about it with them. Research shows that trying to ban or limit candies and other “unhealthy” foods can make your kids crave them more once they grow older. And regardless, most Halloween candy isn’t as bad as you think.