Having older parents may increase the risk of oral clefts

cleftlip

Craniofacial anomalies are a highly diverse group of complex congenital defects, which affect a small but significant proportion of populations. Oral clefts (cleft lip and palate) are the most frequent craniofacial anomalies.  The aim of this study was to review the relationship of maternal and paternal age with the occurrence of non-syndromic oral clefts.

The authors searched Medline, Embase, LILACS, SciELO, SCOPUS and the Cochrane library databases  for Cohort studies, case-control, cross-sectional and prevalence studies written in English where the association between parental age and oral clefts was investigated.

They identified 80 studies for quality assessment of  which 13 were included in the meta-analysis.

They found:-

  • No association between early paternal age (<20 years of age) and cleft lip and palate (CL/P ) and cleft palate (CP) was observed
  • The odds of having a newborn with CP was 1.58 higher for fathers aged 40 years or over compared to those aged between 20 and 39 years
  • There was no statistical association of early maternal age (<20 years) with CL/P, CP and CL.
  • There was no relationship between maternal age  ≥35 years and CL/P
  • Mothers aged 40 years or over were 1.56 times more likely to have a newborn with CL/P compared to those aged between 20 and 29 years
  • Mothers aged 40 years or over were 1.28 times more likely to have a newborn with CP compared to those aged between 20 and 29 years.

They noted that:-

Based on our findings, fathers and mothers aged forty-years or over are more prone to have offspring with a cleft lip with or without cleft palate

Herkrath AP, Herkrath FJ, Rebelo MA, Vettore MV. Parental age as a risk factor for non-syndromic oral clefts: A meta-analysis. J Dent. 2011 Oct 13. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 22019990.

 

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Derek Richards

Derek Richards is the Director of the Centre for Evidence-based Dentistry, Editor of the Evidence-based Dentistry Journal, Consultant in Dental Public Health with Forth Valley Health Board and Honorary Senior Lecturer at Dundee & Glasgow Dental Schools. He helped to establish both the Centre for Evidence-based Dentistry and the Evidence-based Dentistry Journal. He has been involved with teaching EBD and a wide range of evidence-based initiatives both nationally and internationally since 1994.

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