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The need for geriatric dental education in India: the geriatric health challenges of the millennium


Correspondence to:

Dr Susan Thomas,

TC 27/107, Kanianthra, Vanchiyoor,

Trivandrum 695035, India.



The rapid growth in the elderly population in a developing country such as India poses social and financial challenges by causing a shift towards non-communicable diseases and increases in chronic diseases. The economic impact of the burden of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabeties and cancer are high. The link between oral health and general health are particularly pronounced in older populations and impairs their quality of life. This paper reveals that in order to address the increasing health challenges and demands of a growing geriatric population, undergraduates and graduate students in dental schools should be given comprehensive or holistic health assessment training. Cost-effective modern educational strategies and educational tools such as problem-based learning will help to overcome the dearth of trained faculty in geriatric dentistry. Multidisciplinary health-care approaches and extended health-care team work are of vital importance to older patients who could benefit physically and psychologically from more efficient dental treatment. With often more than one chronic disease affecting individuals and use of polypharmacy, there is a need to increase overall knowledge of geriatric pharmacy and geriatric medicine. Measures to help older people remain healthy and active are a necessity in developing countries such as India for effective social and economic development.

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