Improving care for children with clefts

To mark World Smile Day (1 October 2021), the FDI World Dental Federation (FDI) has released new educational resources in collaboration with Smile Train and with support from GSK Consumer Healthcare.

These educational resources are aimed at improving the quality of life for people born with clefts through the delivery of optimal oral healthcare.

The material 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.

Reportedly, cleft lip and palate (clefts) are the most common birth difference of the face and mouth, and impact the development of the mouth, gums and palate.

It’s said that children with clefts are 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 of caries, periodontal disease, and other oral health and well-being challenges as they grow and develop.

“As oral health professionals, we know the long-term impact that oral diseases can have on the overall health, development and well-being of children and adults,” says FDI President-Elect Professor Ihsane Ben Yahya.

“By ensuring individuals with cleft receive timely surgery and oral healthcare we can safeguard their integration into society, give them self-confidence and the potential to succeed in their scholarship.”

“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,” says Smile Train President and CEO Susannah Schaefer.

GSK Consumer Healthcare has reportedly pledged to continue its tremendous support of the initiative between FDI and Smile Train, including the delivery of workshops using the new education resources and the development of an education platform of recorded sessions and family-focused instructional videos on cleft oral health.

“At GSK Consumer Healthcare, we are on a mission to eradicate preventable oral health problems and we believe in the importance of good oral health and hygiene for all, especially for those living with clefts,” says GSK Oral Health Lead, Jayant Singh.

“Comprehensive cleft care is a key focus of the work we support with Smile Train and FDI.

“We are proud of the progress being achieved by the release of these resources, which we hope will serve as a transformative and indispensable tool for the entire cleft care team.”

To learn more about the content, view a webinar by FDI at:


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