Hare lip is the non-medical term for a failure of fusion through embryonic development of the hard palate at the top of the mouth.

From an orthodox point of view the cause of cleft palate is uncertain, although nutritional deficiencies and infections are occasionally cited for any developmental problems.

Deformities, whilst being psychologically damaging, may or may not have a physical difficulty associated with them. Surgical repair is now at such a high standard that a deformity may be hardly noticeable. Technology is advancing and repair of serious cleft palates can be done in utero (with the baby still in the mother’s uterus). Severe deformities can lead to problems with speech and, more seriously, with the inhalation of food that is difficult if not impossible to chew. Such deformities must be repaired.

Catarrh is an essential part of good health as it provides the first line of defence against invading micro-organisms and foreign bodies.


Cleft palate is diagnosable through ultrasound of the foetus in utero. Discuss the possibility of surgical repair as soon as possible.

See Surgery and operations.

Have a consultation with a nutritionist to discuss the possible deficiencies that may be present in any developmental abnormality.

All individuals with a cleft palate must attend a speech therapist and referral through your GP will advise on the time to start. Generally it is as soon as a child is able to understand commands (around 18 months to two years). 1 Cranial osteopathy will help post-operative healing and also correct any imbalances in the cranial bones.


Mouth ulcers can occur at any age but most commonly are a bother to children. The main cause is trauma, usually created by biting the tongue or cheek. Nutritional deficiencies, especially of vitamins A and C or the mineral zinc, can be the cause and this tends to occur in individuals who are reluctant or not given fruit and vegetables to eat.

Poor dental hygiene, irregular teeth or oral braces may all be traumatic and an excess of mercury fillings may irritate via absorption into the saliva. Metabolic disorders such as diabetes and malabsorption syndromes can be indicated by recurrent and persistent mouth ulcers and in smokers or tobacco chewers a mouth ulcer may be the sign of an oral cancer.

Food allergy or intolerance may trigger any inflammatory or degenerative process and may need to be considered; sharp, acidic or spicy foods may aggravate rather than cause problems.


Ensure good dental hygiene and regular checkups from the dentist.

Do not eat quickly and avoid talking whilst eating as this encourages biting of the tongue or cheeks.

Mouthwashes with warm salty water with or without Calendula fluid extract will speed up healing.

Clove oil applied to the lesion will sting but will give considerable relief. Dilute down in olive oil if the initial application is unpleasant.

Aspirin-containing gels may be used in the short term quite effectively.

The homeopathic remedies Mercurius and Arsenicum should be reviewed, although other homeopathic remedies may fit the symptoms and reference should be made to your preferred homeopathic manual. • Persistent ulcers should be brought to the attention of a complementary medical practitioner, who should check for diabetes, malabsorption syndromes, leaky gut syndrome, food allergies and specifically oral candidiasis (thrush), which is not uncommon in bottle-fed infants and individuals who are run down.