Santa Rosa, Calif., dentist Steven Berger said Tuesday he paid $746 to 240 youngsters as a result of his offer to buy trick-or-treat candy at his office for disposal.

Berger said the investment was a good one because candy "causes cavities and is nutritionally bad."Berger, who has bought back candy at $1 per pound for five consecutive Halloweens, had the children throw their sweet trick-or-treat haul directly into a garbage truck immediately after it was weighed.

He called the process "a lesson on the problems of too much sugar in the diet."

Berger said he used his own money in a protest against sugar products being the main thing put into the bags of costumed youngsters when they make their rounds.

Berger asserted there are many alternatives to giving candy, such as small toys, money, pencils, stickers and other things that do not endanger a child's health.