Abnormalities in Salivary Glands Could be to Blame for Cleft Lip and Palate

A new study in the Journal of Dental Research suggests that dental problems commonly associated with cleft lip and palate may be caused by abnormalities in salivary glands and an imbalance of immune compounds in the mouth.

Dr. Timothy Cox, a craniofacial researcher at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and lead author, found that mice with a gene mutation that causes cleft lip and palate had problems in their salivary glands that affected gum tissue and oral health.

“We found that the cleft lip and palate gene mutation also resulted in abnormal salivary glands,” Cox said. “The result was a mouth environment that was too acidic and contained excess bacteria, which led to problems in the gums and more rapid tooth decay.”

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