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Orthodontists Offer Sweet Incentives for Tricky Halloween Treats

Annual buy-back program expects to collect 16 tons of candy

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The average American consumes more than 24 pounds of candy per year, and a sizeable portion of that indulgence is eaten around Halloween*. For most people, this year's candy noshing will simply create an expanded beltline. However, for the more than 5 million North Americans in orthodontic treatment, Halloween treats can pose more tricky consequences.

To help ease candy temptation this Halloween, hundreds of members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) will sponsor candy buy-back programs in their offices. The initiative, which takes place immediately after Halloween, encourages patients of participating AAO members to bring their 'sticky, chewy, hard or crunchy' treats into their orthodontist's office and exchange them for braces-friendly alternatives such as movie tickets, gift certificates or cash. This year, AAO members are expected to collect at least 32,000 pounds -- or 16 tons -- of candy**.

The days immediately following Halloween are among the busiest of the year for orthodontists as they add emergency appointments to their schedules and repair braces damaged when patients indulge in inappropriate treats. This year, Halloween falls on a Friday, and many orthodontists' offices are closed on the weekend. A broken bracket or loose wire could make for an uncomfortable holiday weekend -- for both kids and their parents. Staying away from those tricky treats can prevent an emergency trip to the orthodontist, which could mean missed work for parents and time lost from school for young patients. Broken braces have the potential to prolong treatment.

"Each October the AAO encourages all orthodontic patients to have a fun and safe Halloween, but to keep in mind that some treats are not braces-friendly. If you have braces, you should avoid any foods that are sticky, chewy, hard or crunchy," says Raymond George, Sr., DMD, an orthodontist and president of the AAO. "If orthodontic patients are careful about the Halloween treats they eat, they can keep their braces intact and should be able to finish treatment on time and with good results."

So what happens to all of that candy collected by candy buy-back sponsors? Some AAO members donate it to local organizations and charities or send it overseas to sweeten the lives of those serving in the military.

Orthodontic patients may contact their orthodontists to learn if they sponsor a candy buy-back program. For braces-friendly tips and recipes, or to find an orthodontist near you, visit

About the AAO

The AAO comprises 15,500 members in the United States, Canada and abroad. Founded in 1900, the AAO supports research and education leading to quality patient care and promotes increased public awareness of the need for and benefits of orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists are uniquely qualified to correct improperly aligned teeth and jaws. They are specialists in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontists receive two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth. Only those with this education may call themselves "orthodontists," and only orthodontists may be members of the AAO. The AAO's Web site is

For more information visit our internet press kit at

* According to the U.S. Census Bureau

** The 2008 candy buy-back projection is based on the number of AAO

members who said in a 2007 survey that they planned to sponsor a

buy-back program (662) and the average amount of candy collected per

participating member in 2006 (50 pounds).

Aimee DeVoll, 314-552-6744

Pam Paladin, 314-993-1700, ext. 524

SOURCE American Association of Orthodontists
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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