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How does a cleft lip or cleft palate affect a child?

Cleft lip or cleft palate can cause a child to have missing, extra or crooked teeth. Many children with a cleft defect require braces once their permanent teeth come in. Trouble speaking is another problem caused by cleft defects, and speech therapy can help. Other less common problems include ear infections and hearing loss. Ear tubes can help with this.
Cleft lip, cleft palate or both affect approximately one in 700 children in the United States annually, which make these conditions among the most common birth defects involving the growth of a child’s head and facial bones (craniofacial anomalies). These anomalies -- as well as other common birth defects that can also cause craniofacial anomalies -- not only affect the way the child’s face looks but may also lead to problems with swallowing, speech, hearing and vision.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.