A BRADFORD dentist has been nominated for a national award for her work in improving the dental hygiene of children with disabilities.

NHS dentist Linzi Maybin has been shortlisted for the prize for the work of her charity Happy Teeth Outreach, which has helped more than 600 vulnerable children in the past 12 months.

Ms Maybin was inspired to launch the charity after seeing the high levels of dental decay among Bradford’s children as a community dentist.

The charity works with children with special needs and also refugee children by visiting schools and refugee clinics to screen children in a familiar environment as opposed to the dentist’s chair.

Happy Teeth Outreach educates children on the importance of a healthy diet and oral hygiene, and hands out different types of free toothbrushes, toothpaste and stickers, and has supported hundreds of children across the district since it was launched by Ms Maybin in October 2019.

The charity and Ms Maybin have now been nominated for the Community Organisation Award for Disability category in the ITV National Diversity Awards.

Ms Maybin, who works for Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Bradford has one of the highest dental decay rates in the country and being a community dentist, I treat a lot of children with additional needs and autism.

“They can have a range of issues from anxiety to mobility or behavioural issues, particularly if they have autism.

“For some, it can be challenging to attend a dentist, but by taking the dentist to their normal school environment, it makes it an enjoyable experience.

“We provide dental checks and fun, interactive educational sessions which aim to boost the confidence of these young people to attend the dentist.

“We get a lot of great feedback from what we do and it’s really satisfying to be making a difference to these incredible young people’s lives. I’m passionate about using my dentistry skill to help others.”

This is not the only nomination she has received, having also picked up the Innovation Award from the British Society of Paediatric Dentists.

Happy Teeth campaigns to improve the oral health of young people with disabilities in Yorkshire, through educational programmes in schools, training and awareness for parents and dental and healthcare professionals, including school nurses and support staff.

The Telegraph & Argus has also campaigned to improve the dental health of the district’s young people through the Stop the Rot campaign, which has fought for improved access to NHS dentists, increased parental understanding of good oral health, to emphasise the importance of supervised brushing for children and to encourage people to visit the dentist, and to cut the number of children having teeth removed under general anaesthetic.

Linzi was a bursary student at Bradford Grammar School, coming from a low-income single-parent household, before going on to study Dentistry at the University of Leeds, and thanked the school's "incredible teachers" and the "determination and drive" she picked up at the school.

Dr Simon Hinchliffe, headteacher at Bradford Grammar, added: “It’s wonderful to see students using their talents to help others.

"Many of our students and Old Bradfordians are motivated to help others in their communities and Linzi is a fantastic example of how to use initiative and passion to make a difference to people’s lives. We wish her all the best for the future.”

The ITV National Diversity Awards take place in February 2021 in Liverpool.