Cleft, Craniofacial Conditions Focus of July Observation

Orofacial and craniofacial defects and conditions are in the spotlight in July during National Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness & Prevention Month.

Cleft lip is a birth defect in which the parts of the face that form the upper lip remain split, instead of sealing together before birth, according to the American Dental Association. Similar splits can occur in the roof of the mouth or palate, the ADA says.

During the National Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness & Prevention Month observance, an alliance of organizations, administered by Ameriface, offers education and support services related to cleft and craniofacial conditions, including birth defects and acquired conditions stemming from trauma, burns and disease.

Patients and their families can find information about causes, prevention, treatment and support on The site also includes contact information for participating organizations.

For more information, call AmeriFace at 1-888-486-1209, or contact them by email at

The ADA's new consumer website has information about cleft lip and palate at

© 2017 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Cleft lip and palate are birth defects that occur because a baby’s lip or mouth does not form properly during pregnancy. A cleft lip is an upper lip that is split. It is caused by the failure of the tissue of the lip to join. A cleft palate occurs when the tissue that makes up the roof of the mouth does not come together.