Scared your kids might eat too much candy this Halloween?



There’s a sweet way to save their teeth — and bellies — while sharing treats with others.



Several local dentists are offering cash for candy that will then be sent to soldiers overseas.



In Summit County, dentists Tom and JoAnn Semans are holding their fourth annual Halloween candy buyback from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at 2660 W. Market St., Suite 200, Fairlawn.



Children 14 and younger can turn in their trick-or-treating loot in exchange for $1 per pound, up to five pounds, said Christy Bowen, business coordinator for the practice. Goodies collected through the program are donated to the local USO.



Last year, the practice collected 331 pounds of candy — an increase from 220 the previous year.



Along with getting cash for candy, participants get prizes and a goody bag stuffed with stickers, pencils and a Rockne’s gift certificate.



“We have a lot of kids who reach the 5-pound max,” Bowen said. “We get some hesitation but once they know it’s going overseas and they can keep what they want, they’re OK with it.”



Some other dental practices also are participating in Operation Gratitude, a national effort that sends thousands of care packages annually to U.S. service members deployed in hostile regions, their children and wounded soldiers.



For the third year, Dr. Michael Mead is hosting a Halloween candy buyback from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday at his office, located at 12981 Cleveland Ave NW, Uniontown.



The practice is offering $1 per pound, up to 5 pounds. All donated candy will be sent to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team 101st Airborne Division currently stationed in Afghanistan and to other U.S. troops through Operation Gratitude.



During the candy collection event, people also can write personal notes of thanks and encouragement to be sent to soldiers along with the Halloween treats.



The practice’s previous events collected more than 350 pounds of surrendered candy from trick-or-treaters to send to soldiers overseas.



In Jackson Township, dentist Bryan Terhune Jr. is hosting candy buyback events from 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Monday and Tuesday at his office, located at 4579 Everhard Road NW. Participants get $1 per pound of candy, up to 5 pounds. Donations will be given to Operation Gratitude and other local charities, office manager Barb Schneider said.



“It’s really nice that the kids are willing to give it up,” she said.



Both practices are giving away free toothbrushes and holding drawings for free electric toothbrushes.



To find other dental practices nationwide participating in the Halloween Candy Buyback program for Operation Gratitude, visit www.halloweencandybuyback.com.



Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or cpowell@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/abjcherylpowell.