Kids can exchange Halloween candy for toys at Columbus Kool Smiles

The Columbus Kool Smiles office in the St. Francis Shopping Center will exchange kids’ Halloween candy for toys Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 1-3. The candy will then be sent in care packages to U.S. troops serving overseas via Operation Gratitude.

Each child who brings his or her candy to the Columbus office at 519 Woodruff Road will receive one toy for every 25 pieces of candy. Candy must be unopened, in its original packaging and there is a limit of three toys per child. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

"Halloween can be especially rough on kids' teeth," explained Kool Smiles Regional Dental Director Ashley Nichols, 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 in the area to reduce the frequency their teeth are exposed to sugars by exchanging some of their candy for a fun toy."

Kool Smiles also donates tooth brushes, toothpaste and money to cover operational costs for Operation Gratitude.

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 mykoolsmiles.com.

Operation Gratitude annually sends more than 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.