Improving care for children with clefts to optimise their oral health

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children with clefts oral health
Photo: jegesvarga 123rf

Every child has the right to good oral health, which is why FDI World Dental Federation (FDI) recently joined forces with Smile Train to launch new educational resources aimed at improving the quality of life for people born with clefts. 

Cleft lip and palate (clefts) are the most common birth defect of the face and mouth and impact the development of the mouth, gums, and palate. Children with clefts are also uniquely susceptible to poor oral health and are commonly affected by missing, extra, or malformed teeth and facial structures. Even children who receive cleft surgery are at an increased risk for caries, periodontal disease, and other oral health and wellbeing challenges as they grow and develop. 

The resources, which were developed with support from GSK Consumer Healthcare, includes guidelines for dentists and other key members of the cleft care team as well as resources for patients, families, and communities, which highlight the importance of oral health, explain the challenges of oral healthcare beyond cleft surgery, and provide vital oral health guidance.  

“The partnership between Smile Train and FDI with the support of GSK Consumer Healthcare, and the resources that have resulted from this shared commitment to advancing oral health for vulnerable populations, will change lives for generations to come,” Smile Train president and CEO Susannah Schaefer said.

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