Dentistry training to increase focus on elderly people

Summary

The dentistry programme at UGent will include a new compulsory module in gerodontology, as the population of Flanders ages

Ripple effects

The University of Ghent is to start training its dentistry students to treat and prevent oral diseases in people aged 65 and over, in response to the increasing oral care needs of Flanders’ ageing population.

Professor Jan Cosyn, chair of the university’s Dentistry programme committee, told De Morgen that the rapidly ageing population made the course necessary. “The older a person becomes, the worse the state of their oral care,” he said, adding that oral care is often the first thing that is neglected when people moves into a retirement centre or group home.

Skimping on oral care can have ripple effects on an elderly person’s health – untreated abscesses and chronic infections increase the risk of heart disease and others serious health conditions.

The gerodontology course will be compulsory in the university’s five-year dentistry degree programme, which will be revamped in 2017-2018 with an increased focus on digitisation and new trends in prostheses and will include a course meant to prepare new dentists to work in group practices.

Gerondontology is already being offered as part of the dentistry study programme at the University of Leuven, the only other Flemish university to offer a five-year degree in dentistry.

Photo: Ingimage