A Cleft lip and Palate are a common birth disorder. Unfortunately, they are associated with a range of health complications – including oral health. Therefore, it is important that children with a cleft lip and palate receive support with their oral health. Now, United Concordia Dental have put forward some resources and information to aid parents that have children with the disorder.

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A Cleft lip and Palate is a very common birth disorder. Despite them being widespread, they are misunderstood by many.

Unfortunately, those with a cleft lip and palate often have health complications. This extends to oral health, with those with the disorder usually being more vulnerable to having more oral health problems.

With this in mind, it is useful for the parents of children with a cleft lip and palate to have some guidance on managing their oral health.

In line with February being Children’s Dental Health Month, dental insurance company United Concordia Dental have shared some useful resources and information for the parents of children with a cleft lip and palate.

What is a cleft lip and palate?

A cleft lip and palate are present from birth. A cleft lip is a gap or split in the upper lip, while a palate is a gap or split in the roof of the mouth [1]. The two often appear together.

Around the world, approximately 500 babies are born each day with a cleft lip and palate. They normally occur when the baby’s lip or roof of the mouth doesn’t entirely form when developing in the womb [1].

Having a cleft lip and palate makes a child more vulnerable to some physical health conditions, along with feeding, eating, and speaking issues.

Cleft lip and palate and oral health

Children with a cleft lip and palate have many oral health challenges. The disorder can impact the normal development of the mouth and gums.

Moreover, other areas that a cleft lip and palate effect includes the size, shape, positioning and number of teeth that a child has [2]. Therefore, this makes cleaning their teeth harder.

Furthermore, this then results in a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease developing. These various areas have been shown to negatively impact the quality of life of such children [3].

Many parents seek corrective surgery for their children. However, this isn’t always possible, whether it is surgery complications, cost, or a lack of access to treatment – there are many potential barriers.

Helpful information for parents

For parents that have children with a cleft lip and palate, it can be difficult to know how to best help them. For most, they will be entering into unknown territory.

But there are many resources available. Now, the team at United Concordia Dental have put forward three common oral health areas that parents should be aware of [2].

Their first key area is pediatric, which refers to when a child’s first tooth appears. Once this happens, parents should seek a check-up, which will allow a dentist to check everything is okay with the child’s development. Moreover, they can assist with advice on cleaning, a healthy diet, and if any treatment is needed [2].

The second key area is orthodontic, which refers to when a child’s permanent teeth start to form. When this happens, the team recommend contacting an orthodontist, who can look for any positioning issues with the teeth. Positioning issues are common in those with a cleft lip and palate. An orthodontist can help with this, which can help straighten the teeth and ensure they operate properly [2].

Finally, the third area is prosthodontic, which is needed when a child has complex dental and facial issues – which is possible for those with a cleft lip and palate. If teeth are missing, there are ways that prosthodontics can help. This can improve their overall oral health [2].

The team also recommend that such children have personalized treatment plans, as this will take all of their needs into account. Parents have a role to play in this – and can help to arrange this by discussing matters with their dentist.

Having knowledge of these areas is important for parents. Therefore, it can assist with their understanding of the situation, and can improve the oral health of their children.

Comments from United Concordia Dental

By putting these resources and advice forward, United Concordia Dental hope that they can assist parents. Therefore, this can improve the wider oral health of affected children.

Roosevelt Allen is the Chief Dental Officer at United Concordia Dental [2]. He has commented on the situation and the resources provided.

Allen says that “treatment plans can vary for children with cleft lips and palates depending on the severity of [the] cleft, the child’s age and needs, and if any other medical conditions are present” [2].

Moreover, Allen has mentioned the importance of having dentistry involved during childhood. He says that “having dentists as an integral part of a child’s integrated care team, along with regularly brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing, will help keep them on a healthy path throughout the duration of their treatment and beyond” [2].

Hopefully, the resources provided and general information can be helpful. The most important thing is that children with oral health needs are looked after and provided with the required treatment.

Thinking points…

[1] Do you have a child with a cleft lip and palate? If so, the information and resources provided in this article should be very helpful! But it is important to remember that any child needs support with their oral health. One way of ensuring that their oral health remains strong is to attend a dental appointment regularly. We recommend that you book an appointment now for both yourself and any children!

[2] Do you know anyone that has a child with a cleft lip and palate? If so, this article would be incredibly helpful to them. Moreover, it can also help to improve the oral health of their children. You could share this article with your friends, family, or wider public now!

What we offer at Taradale Dental

Taradale Dental is a Calgary dental clinic that provide its patients with a range of treatment options and advice, with the aim of improving oral health and boosting overall wellbeing!

We advise our patients to attend our Calgary dental clinic at least twice per year for a regular dental check-up. At these check-ups, we provide a comprehensive review of a patient’s oral health. If any problems are detected, we have many treatments available. For example, these include cavity fillings and root canals. To strengthen your oral health, we recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing regularly.

Here at Taradale Dental, we also have some cosmetic treatments available! These include dental implants, teeth whitening and Invisalign™! Our patients find that these treatments have a positive impact on their appearance, confidence and self-esteem.

Moreover, the fees of our treatments at our Calgary dental clinic Taradale Dental are set in line with the Alberta Dental Fee Guide. This ensures transparent and fair pricing, with no hidden costs.

We hope to see you soon at our Taradale Dental clinic in Calgary! You can find out more about us by visiting our website https://taradaledental.ca.


[1] NHS. (2023). Cleft lip and palate. Available: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cleft-lip-and-palate/. Last accessed: 24th February 2024.

[2] United Concordia Dental. (2024). Dental Health Resources to Consider for Children with Cleft Lips and Palates. Available: https://www.oralhealthgroup.com/news/dental-health-resources-to-consider-for-children-with-cleft-lips-and-palates-1003977582/. Last accessed: 24th February 2024.

[3] Eslami, N., Majidi, M., Aliakbarian, M., & Hasanzadeh, N. (2013). Oral Health-Related Quality of Life in Children With Cleft Lip and Palate. Journal of Craniofacial Surgery. 24 (4): p340-343. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1097/scs.0b013e31828b743b.