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WATCH | Dental teaching unit opened at St Vincent de Paul Dental teaching unit opened at St Vincent de Paul Parliamentary Secretary for the Elderly Justyne Caruana inaugurated a geriatric dentistry teaching clinic at St Vincent de Paul residence earlier today. The clinic aims to provide students with training in dental treatment for the elderly. Dean of the faculty of dental surgery Prof Nikolai Attard said that research and surveys had revealed that some 41% of residents in care homes had no teeth and that a mere 8% of residents conformed to World Health Organisation oral health standards. "Oral health is one of the ways that we can improve the quality of life for the elderly, and active ageing can only be achieved through good oral health," he said explaining the ethos behind the dental teaching unit within the care home. He added that the clinic was a response to the ever changing demographic of society, with the elderly living longer and therefore requiring more specialized care. Attard said that dental care for the elderly, was becoming increasingly important and many were choosing to specialise in the field at a post-graduate level. The clinic, which was a €250,000 investment, consisted of eight units, all having state of the art equipment, which was also specialised to ensure accessibility for those with mobility issues. Caruana said that the clinic was another step in the rebranding of the facility, one that was greatly needed by residents. “The clinic would provide all dental services including preventive dentistry, operative dentistry and radiology services among others,” she said. "This will also provide students with a unique training opportunity," she said, adding that the University of Malta was a crucial stakeholder in these issues. Looking back at the renovation of many of the facility’s wards, in recent weeks, Caruana looked forward to inaugurating further training facilities at the residence "We want to promote St Vincent de Paul as a centre for excellence," she said. She explained that the project was a clear demonstration of the University of Malta’s role in society. Rector Juanito Camilleri said that a university should be connected to the development and economy of the country. He explained that the clinic could mean that a wider variety of patients could be studied to better understand the needs of the elderly. He also explained that given the increased research and training opportunities the clinic would prevent, it could ultimately mean a higher intake of students into the course.