My family has incorporated probiotics into our daily regimen and defense of our immune systems.  I first became seriously interested in probiotics after my cleft affected son suffered from chronic ear infections and was on antibiotics more than he was off of them in the first few years of his life.  His pediatrician brought to our attention that our son might begin experiencing GI (gastrointestinal) issues due to his gut flora being wiped out time and time again.

Again, I found myself researching and gathering information on probiotics, different strains, the best ones that would help to recolonize my son’s gut, etc.  Through my research I found that using many different products and inserting a variety of probiotic strains, as well as enzymes was going to be the best approach for us in rebuilding his gut flora and immune system.

Imagine my surprise when I came across information relating to the dental health of cleft affected children through the use of probiotics!  Below is an excerpt from a study The Cleft Palate – Craniofacial Journal published. You can read the full article at (

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The Cleft Palate–Craniofacial Journal—Poor oral hygiene and higher incidence of tooth decay are often prevalent in people with cleft lip and palate. Food supplements containing probiotic bacteria can help reduce the incidence and severity of dental caries.

The Cleft Palate–Craniofacial Journal presents a study of 30 adolescents with cleft lip and palate analyzing the effects of probiotics on oral health. Fifteen subjects in the intervention group drank a probiotic milk powder containing Lactobacillus paracasei SD1 for 4 weeks while 15 subjects in the control group were given milk without a probiotic. Levels of salivary mutans streptococci and lactobacilli were measured at the start of the study and once a week for 4 weeks after use of the probiotic concluded.

For adolescents with cleft lip and palate, orthodontic treatment is usually necessary because of irregularities in tooth size, malalignment of teeth, or skeletal abnormalities. However, fixed and removable orthodontic appliances that help correct problems facilitate the colonization of bacteria such as mutans streptococci. This increases the negative impact of orthodontics for caries-susceptible patients.

Live microbial food supplements can help to stimulate natural immunity to infection and balance microflora. Use of the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus can positively affect the oral cavity. Lactobacillus paracasei SD1 has been shown to have strong inhibitory effects against Streptococcus mutans, making it a good choice as an oral probiotic.

In the study, counts of mutans streptococci, which promote tooth decay, were significantly reduced among those patients who used the probiotic. Likewise, the good bacteria, lactobacilli, showed significant increases among the intervention group. In addition, Lactobacillus paracasei SD1 were still detected up to 4 weeks after active usage of the probiotic.

The Lactobacillus paracasei SD1 milk powder appeared to successfully colonize the oral cavity among this group of orthodontically treated cleft lip and palate patients. It was found to be safe and effective for oral use. Further long-term study of its beneficial effects should be undertaken.


About The Cleft Palate–Craniofacial Journal

The Cleft Palate–Craniofacial Journal is an international, interdisciplinary journal reporting on clinical and research activities in cleft lip/palate and other craniofacial anomalies, together with research in related laboratory sciences. It is the official publication of the American Cleft Palate–Craniofacial Association (ACPA). For more information, visit

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If you are thinking of incorporating probiotics into your daily regimen for your cleft affected child you have two things to consider now when weighing this option and deciding for yourself if its good for your family.  Probiotics help to build an immune system from overuse of antibiotics due to chronic ear infections and can help to prevent tooth decay and impact the oral cavity by having a high incidence of good bacteria versus bad.

We were only looking into probiotics to recolonize his gut and found along the way that there is an even greater impact potential on his health with their use.  I encourage you to continue your research, talk to your pediatrician and make a truly informed decision when deciding whether or not to incorporate probiotics into your family’s regimen for health.

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