Dr. Weaver and his staff get into the Halloween spirit.

Halloween is on the horizon — and with it, comes bags upon bags of tasty treats. While kids can certainly enjoy some of their holiday haul, too much can be damaging.

That’s especially true if the ghouls and goblins in question have braces. Dr. John Weaver has been preaching that message for 15 years.

All that time, the Brunswick-based orthodontist has been encouraging his patients to turn in extra Halloween candy. That is, in turn, shared with some very special recipients — American troops overseas.

“The response we have had has been great. We have collected hundreds of pounds of candy over the years. The candy is then donated to Operation Shoe Box. This organization sends the candy to the troops,” Weaver said.

Those who surrender candy will also be entered into a raffle for a $200 Amazon gift card — a matching donation will also be given to Manna House, a soup kitchen in Brunswick. Giving back is certainly an important piece of the puzzle.

It’s also a way for Weaver to promote National Orthodontic Heath Month, a season to celebrate healthy smiles and to share the benefits of orthodontic care.

Weaver also uses Halloween as an opportunity to share some general tips on keeping teeth healthy. Those include:

• Stay away from hard, sticky, crunchy or chewy Halloween candies and snacks. Take a pass on things like caramel, gummies, licorice, gum and jelly beans. It’s so tempting during Halloween season, but trust — you’ll be able to enjoy these treats sooner if you take good care of your orthodontic appliances now.

• Avoid hard treats. Nuts and nut-filled treats, chips and popcorn — all of these could break brackets and bands or damage the wires on braces.

• Brush! Sweets and treats can cause cavities. Brushing and flossing are more important than ever during this sugar-filled season. Orthodontic patients should be especially mindful to brush and floss after consuming sugary and starchy foods.

This festive candy buy-back program is offered for all Weaver Orthodontics patients, however all local families are invited to participate. Those who want to turn in candy can do so between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Nov. 4 to 7. The office is located at 35 Professional Drive, Brunswick.

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