Improving orAl health in Cleft lip and/Or palate:  a health pRomotion iNtervention for children and parents  

Children with a cleft lip and/or palate often have unhealthy gums and teeth because they struggle with mouth care. This can affect the success of their treatment, including bone grafts and braces. Researchers at the University of Manchester are carrying out a feasibility study looking at developing a new way to help carry out good mouth care regularly.  It is based on if-then plans’ (the technical term is 'implementation intentions'), which recognise that people generally want to act in a healthy way but can struggle to do so. Children and parents will choose an everyday event, such as ‘if getting ready for bed’, and use it to prompt an action, such as ‘then brush teeth’. 

Following qualitative interviews with parents and children about things that help or get in the way of maintaining good oral health, the researchers have developed an animation to help parents and children develop an ‘if-then’ plan relevant to them.  The study wants to find out whether the ‘if-then plans’ can help keep children's teeth healthy.

This study is taking part in 3 UK cleft centres: Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham. Children aged 5-9 years with a cleft lip and/or palate and who consent to be in the study will be visited at home by a Dental Care Practitioner (DCP). They will collect information about oral health care via questionnaires and assessment of plaque and gum inflammation at an initial visits and again 6 months later. The results will help decide how many children need to be in a study to be sure whether ‘if-then plans' really do help children with a cleft lip and/or palate have healthier mouths.  The Chief Investigator is Professor Peter Callery and the study is funded by the NIHR. For more information contact