Patients with cleft lip and/or palate have a higher prevalence of tooth decay and cavities than their siblings without clefts, according to a new report published in the Cleft Palate–Craniofacial Journal.
In this study, conducted at Damascus University of Syria, 53 patients with clefts aged 12 to 29 years were compared with 53 sex- and age-matched siblings without clefts. All subjects underwent the same dental examination without X-rays.
Dental caries scores were calculated according to decayed, missing, and filled permanent teeth. Eighty-five percent of the patients with clefts exhibited a moderate or high dental caries score, compared with only 43% of the control subjects.
Based on these differences among siblings, the author asserted that--independent of socioeconomic status--cleft patients are more susceptible to dental caries. Therefore, "the implementation of special dental caries preventive programs should be encouraged in approaching cleft lip and/or palate patients."
Such prevention is important because of the large number of children born with cleft lip and/or palate. Cleft lip and palate is the most frequently occurring birth defect in the United States, affecting nearly 7,000 children yearly, or one in every 600 newborns.
For more information, visit Cleft Palate–Craniofacial Journal.
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