August 22, 2014

Elyria
Hazy moonlight
73°F
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What’s sweeter than sugar? Cold hard cash

ELYRIA — This Halloween, Elyria dentist Scott Nagy is willing to put his money where your child’s mouth is. Nagy and five assistants at his Gulf Road office have cooked up a no-cavity solution to this year’s Halloween: Cash for candy.

On Nov. 1, a child can show up at his office between 6:30 and 8 p.m. and turn in up to 5 pounds of Halloween candy collected the night before. They’ll get $1 for every pound of candy for each child. 

JASON MILLER/CHRONICLE
Elyria dentist Scott Nagy will be offering trick-or-treaters $1 per pound of candy for up to 5 pounds after this years Halloween night and will send the candy to U.S. troops in Iraq.

“We’re not saying we want to cut out candy totally,” Nagy said. “That’s against human nature. Let the kids have some candy — they can pick out their favorites — but there’s still maybe five pounds left over.”

Nagy said the payoff for the children is twofold. Not only will the little sugar-munchers get cash for something that may have rotted their teeth, they’ll also contribute to a good cause.

All the candy that’s collected Nov. 1 will be shipped to troops stationed in Iraq.

“That’s kind of the meat and potatoes of what we want to do here,” Nagy said. “We have patients come in here and say, ‘My nephew is in Iraq, and you wouldn’t believe how much they appreciate getting something, even something little.’ ”

As an added bonus, Nagy is setting up craft areas in his office where children can make their own cards to be sent with the boxes of candy that night. 

“Being a thousand miles on the other side of the world and getting a card from a kid in Elyria — that’s a good connection,” Nagy said. “You get a big response from the troops.”

Apart from the moral goodness that the cash for candy could conjure up, the children also will be sparing their teeth the agony of a sugar blitz. As a primer on the world of sugar and cavities, Nagy offered this:
Cavities need three things to exist: A tooth, bacteria and something to feed the bacteria. More often that not, that “something” is sugar.

“Bacteria love sugar just like we love sugar,” Nagy said, adding that hard candies and tacky snacks like Fruit Roll-ups are brutal on teeth, since they get clogged in the molars and make their way into gaps between the teeth.
“Now & Laters, Tootsie Rolls, gummy bears — those are all great cavity-growing types of candy,” Nagy said.

But it isn’t just teeth that Nagy and his staff are hoping to save from cavities.

“Oral health, positive or negative, will impact overall health, positive or negative,” Nagy said. Poor oral hygiene can result in gum disease, which leads to lackluster chewing of food, which then leads to gastrointestinal problems.

Not to mention the widely scrutinized issue of childhood obesity.

“It’s the same reason they’re taking all the soda machines out of schools,” Nagy said. “It’s all tied to overall health.”

Nagy’s dental assistant, Maria Torres, said she’s not surprised Nagy is willing to front the cash to buy children’s candy.

“Dr. Nagy is truly one in a million,” she said.

Contact Shawn Foucher at (440) 653-6255 or sfoucher@chroniclet.com.