CLEFT is supporting National Smile Month, a campaign all about championing the benefits of having good oral health and promoting the value of a healthy smile, run by The Oral Health Foundation.

Maintaining a healthy smile can be simple but for so many this can be very difficult.  Despite the many improvements in oral health over the last 40 years, inequalities continue to be a burden for countless individuals.

The Oral Health Foundation

CLEFT has seen the consequences of this kind of inequality at first hand. In places like Bangladesh and Egypt, money can be so tight that some parents are unable to afford even basic items like toothbrushes or toothpaste. Cleaning their children's teeth can be a big problem, leading to tooth decay and infections. Although dental hygiene is important for everyone, for children born with clefts, having healthy teeth is particularly important.


Pictured above, a child in Sohag, Egypt requires considerable orthodontic treatment. Sohag is one of the poorest areas of Egypt yet it is becoming one of the best centres for treating clefts in Egypt.

Teeth can grow in unusual places when the structure of the jaw is altered by the cleft, and so sometimes teeth can be difficult or even painful to access. Children with cleft lip or cleft palate may also be at greater risk for cavities, since they often have weak areas in their enamel and thicker, less effective saliva.

By providing basic items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, as well as information on how to care for teeth and eat a healthier diet, the CLEFT team in Bangladesh is preventing this problem from occurring before it happens.

Kirstie Thwaite, a Dental Therapist and Debbie Hemington, Chair of the British Association of Dental Therapists took part in a LIVE Q&A for CLEFT on social media, talking about the importance of good oral hygiene and the importance of a health diet and brushing teeth regularly and properly. It is a really interesting interview and Debbie shares some of her considerable experience that might make you rethink some of your own eating habits!

You can also watch dental hygienist, Natalie Ladosu, share some key information about maintaining good oral health as well as some useful tips for brushing teeth. This is a great information for everyone, not just for children with cleft lip and palate.

So now we are asking you to give up chocolate, sweets and dried fruit for a day, a week, a month or a year and instead donate the money you would have spent to CLEFT. Not only will you be doing your mouth and teeth a favour, but you will be making a huge difference to the lives of children born with clefts.  

£5 will provide 5 dental kits and education for patients in our centre in Bangladesh.