Local dentist pays $5 for kids’ candy

A new way to fight the sugar invasion
Lucas Dental Associates at 232 Bloomfield St. will buy back Halloween candy until Nov. 4 to help promote good dental hygiene.
Lucas Dental Associates at 232 Bloomfield St. will buy back Halloween candy until Nov. 4 to help promote good dental hygiene.

One local dental office is offering a candy buyback program this year to help promote dental hygiene and combat the drastic sugar intake that occurs after Halloween.
“In our town, I understand parents already know this message,” said Dr. Robin Lucas. “A lot of kids in Hoboken are not over sugared and they have a balanced diet. However, it’s a message that certainly bears repeating.”
For the four days following Halloween, Lucas Dental Associates at 232 Bloomfield St. will offer kids $5, as well as a toothbrush and toothpaste, in exchange for up to 5 lbs. of their loot.
Lucas said she first got the idea about six years ago when she received a flyer from her children’s school offering a similar program, but it wasn’t until two years ago when she decided to do so at her dental practice.
“That resonated with me when my children came home with that flyer, not because I’m a dentist, but because personally I don’t feel anyone needs to consume that many sweets in such a concentrated amount,” said Lucas. “I’m not anti-sweet or anti-sugar. Some sweets are okay, but kids need to have it in moderation and not that high concentration. When I have it here at home, I would give my kids some, store the rest, and then eventually get rid of it. “
She first decided to start this program when she expanded her practice to include pediatric dentistry, although she said she always saw some children.
“Hoboken has slowly changed over the years, and increasingly more families and children are coming to Hoboken and staying, so I decided to expand our practice to include pediatric dentistry and staff. And that’s when we really started doing this,” she explained.
Originally the program was a small one with only her patients involved.
That first year, she handed out over $500.
She said since it’s been so widely publicized and word of mouth is spreading, her practice has set aside even more money.
Lucas said that all the candy they collect goes to troops and the U.S.O.
“From what I understand, and my brother was a Marine overseas, while they might enjoy eating some of the candy, the troops actually use it as a goodwill activity with children or people they meet overseas,” said Lucas.
“The kids are all very excited and think it’s a great idea,” said Dr. Anuja Sidker Rabjitkar, the practice’s pediatric dentist. “They feel like they earned it. They got dressed up they went door to door. Through this buyback program, they feel like they aren’t losing something they earned, but rather, got something better, and it keeps them happy.”
She said that Hoboken parents and the media have done a good job of spreading awareness that too much candy can be detrimental to one’s health.
“It actually takes about three months for a cavity to develop, so the effects of eating sweets are not immediate, but constant exposure to candy definitely doesn’t help,” she said.
Lucas Dental Associates will be buying back candy until Saturday Nov. 4.
Candy buyback will be Wednesday Nov. 1 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday Nov. 2 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Friday Nov. 3 from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday Nov. 4 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information, particularly hours of operation, contact Lucas Dental Associates at (201) 798-8899.

Marilyn Baer can be reached at marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.