Geronto project - "Evaluation and improvement of oral health in the elderly"

 "Even the elderly need teir tooth fairy" – it's a simple description of the project which was designed and implemented by the students of School of Dental Medicine in Zagreb professor Adnan ĆatoviĆc,DMD,MSc,Ph.D. Elderly often neglect their oral cavity, especially teeth, usually through ignorance and thinking that it does not matter how they look in their "old days". Most of them had lost the habit of regularly brushing their teeth, and they don't even maintain hygiene of their dental restorations (crowns, bridges and dentures) if they have any. Accordingly, the aim of the project is to make elderly aware of to take care of their oral health and give them advice on how to improve oral hygiene. Students from all years of study can participate in this project, what is particularly significant for those from lower years since it is a good introduction to clinical practice. The project is designed so that a group of dozen of students visits premises of association of pensioners and nursing homes where they have a short presentation on the most important facts related to the maintenance of oral hygiene and the consequences brought by the neglecting it. Questions can always be asked and students will provide an exhaustive and above all understandable response. After the presentation, students individually perform oral examination ( with the approval, of course) and screening for oral cancer. If there is any abnormal finding students will suggest a visit to a dentist or possibly visit to the dental faculty. For each person student fills out the survey in which records fully inspected state of the oral cavity. Using surveys Geronto leads statistical records of oral health of the pensioners and residents of nursing homes. The project is sponsored by individual companies that donate their promotional materials like brushes, toothpastes, interdental brushes, dental floss etc. These dental hygiene tools students donate at each visit to all participants as encouragament. Elderly are cheered up by every such visit. What delights them is the fact that they are visited by young people who are enthusiastic and eager to share their knowledge and make sure that they felt satisfied and healthier. After each visit, leaders of associations and nursing homes and, most importantly, people who are provided with education, have for Geronto nothing but praise. We hope that over time the number of student members Geronto family will grow and that together we will change the state of oral health in the third age people in Croatia.