Here, treat yourself to a guilt bar while the kids pig out

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Halloween is, for a lot of youngsters, a fun time where they can dress up like Snow White or Jack Sparrow and demand loot from complete strangers.

This rather bizarre celebration of ghouls and glucose often leads to a few days of tummy aches, colds and crankiness for the parents. But what's Halloween without your dentist dropping a little nicely wrapped guilt into the candy bag as well?

I am assuming that all parents got the memo that candy causes cavities? If not there may be other areas of parenting to brush up on as well.

What can your dentist do to help out at Halloween?

For a number of years, Walla Walla Dental Care has sponsored "The Great Halloween Candy Buy-Back" program. (There may be other offices participating as well, so you may want to inquire if you are patients at a different office.) If your children have had their one-day fill of candy and you want to make something good come of all the debauchery, why not have your loot weighed and exchanged for something more worthwhile?

In case that's not incentive enough, perhaps you would be interested to know how some sour or tart candy brands your child might receive compare to battery acid in their pH. Can we all agree that battery acid isn't something mothers would typically feed their child for a delightful and tasty treat? Trac Research presents the rather disturbing chart inset in this column for your information.

After Halloween, try to limit the amount of time the candy languishes around your house, and be sure to have the kids brush and floss after eating these treats!

Oh, what happens to the candy after a dental office redeems it from your child? An interesting question. One dentist's idea is the excess candy should enter the vitrification program at Hanford Nuclear Plant, be put into glass rods, then dumped into the Mariana Trench. (Wiki it kids. Deepest hole in the Pacific Ocean just off Guam.) But that's just me.

In reality, it will probably end up being rationed out as a treat for a soldier at Christmas or a local child where our troops are serving, bringing happiness in small manageable quantities rather than by the pillowcase full.

Dr. Eric Gustavsen practices dentistry at Southpoint Dental Center, 1129 S. Second Ave. More information on his practice can be found at www.southpointdentalcenter.com.

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