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To evaluate the efficacy of an oral hygiene program for orthodontic patients with cleft lip and palate.Retrospective pilot study.Hospital for Rehabilitation of Craniofacial Anomalies, Bauru, Brazil.One hundred twenty-two patients with complete cleft lip and palate undergoing orthodontic treatment.Orientation on toothbrushing and flossing, plaque disclosure, and scoring according to an especially designed index.Statistical comparison of variation in plaque index between sessions; correlation of intervals between sessions and variation in plaque index.Mean scores were reduced significantly, from 2.17 to 1.75 between first and second, 2.18 to 1.62 between first and third, and 1.93 to 1.62 between second and third sessions. Plaque reduction was inversely proportional to the time interval.The program demonstrated a significant plaque reduction. The highest reduction between the first and second sessions reveals the need to reinforce the initial instructions at all sessions. The greatest reduction observed at shorter intervals highlights the need for regular follow up. More controlled studies on larger samples should be encouraged to evaluate the validity of the index and the efficacy of similar programs worldwide.