Trick or teeth: Health care firm to distribute toothpaste to protect little fangs
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You know how kids talk about which neighbors are handing out the best -- and worst -- Halloween treats?
There's sure to be some word of mouth Tuesday when trick-or-treaters call at certain houses across the region and receive tubes of toothpaste and oral hygiene tips.
That may sound like a trick if you're a kid, or if you're skeptical of toothpaste companies. But the folks at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare say they just want to help children properly care for their teeth at a tooth-scary time of the year.
During Beggars Night in neighborhoods from South Park to Cranberry, about 100 employees of the Moon company will hand out from their homes 5,000 "goodie bags." Each contains a tube of the company's Aquafresh Dr. Seuss kids' toothpaste and a booklet -- "ABC's of a Fun, Healthy Bedtime" -- plus, for parents, a tube of adult toothpaste and a coupon.
"The trick is that you still have to give them candy," Aquafresh senior brand manager Tom Baxter said with a laugh. He handed out the contradictory combination of candy and toothpaste from his house in Pine last year, the first Halloween the company tried it, and he will do so again next week.
He says children and their parents loved it, and some of the latter even called later that night to praise the idea. One can understand why the parents might.
Children eat, on average, a dozen pieces of candy on Halloween, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
And kids, especially sugar-buzzing ones, don't like to brush and go to bed. An Aquafresh survey of 1,000 parents of children ages 2 to 8 ranked kids' bedtime habits from favorite to least favorite and found that only "brushing hair" was dreaded more than "brushing teeth." The Dr. Seuss products and promotion, launched this spring, aim to make brushing more fun and to foster early literacy skills and to save parents from using candy as a bedtime bribe.
The Halloween toothpaste giveaway is only being done in this area now, but it's a model program for having employees serve as ambassadors and it could spread. The employees, dubbed the EXCITE (Extreme Clean Innovative Trial and Experience) Team, also have passed out thousands of samples at sports and community events.
They'll give goodie bags, and read Dr. Seuss stories, to preschoolers at Sto-Rox School District today and Tuesday, when they'll also treat some second-graders there.
Back in the day, dispensing toothpaste on Halloween might have been grounds for getting your house decorated with another bathroom product, such as toilet paper or soap. But company spokeswoman Lori Lukus said that at her Cranberry home last year, she gave away all 150 of her goodie bags without incident.
They got a "great reaction" from kids, she said, allowing that it was "beyond what I would have personally expected."
But there was a lot of talk:
"Are you the lady giving out the toothpaste?"
First Published October 27, 2006 12:00 am