06 JULY 2020

A dental nurse from Leicester has been announced as the Oral Health Foundation's fourth winner of our Nominate A Smile competition for her commitment to spreading the importance of a healthy smile across the city.

Sophie Lesiuk (35) picked up the prize as part of Nominate A Smile – a competition held by the Oral Health Foundation looking for special people doing extraordinary things in their local community.

The mother of two has delivered 175 free oral health workshops to around 10,000 people across Leicester.

Sophie (pictured right) has visited schools and colleges, homeless shelters, mother & baby groups, NHS mental health wards, Salvation Army groups, Age UK and many more.

Teaching young children about the importance of looking after their teeth is especially close to Sophie’s heart. Her 9-year-old son James, who’s autistic, had to have some teeth removed under general anaesthetic in hospital when he was younger.

Sophie said: “It absolutely broke my heart and I know that, sadly, a lot of children are having to have their teeth removed under general anaesthetic on the NHS every year.

“Young children learn through play,” Sophie adds. “If you’ve got something fun, they’ll listen.”

The latest statistics show nearly two-in-five (38.6%) children in Leicester already have tooth decay by the age of five.

To improve oral health in young people, Sophie believes electric toothbrushes with flashing lights and music are a powerful motivator for children brushing their teeth.  She also says that more children and parents need support for their oral health.  

Sophie says: “There needs to be more attention, education and support for families on the basics of good oral health.  Brushing twice a day and cutting down on sugar are two really important difference makers and can transform the oral health of both children and adults.”

Nominate a Smile is part of National Smile Month – a charity campaign by the Oral Health Foundation that raises awareness of the importance of good oral health.

As a winner of Nominate A Smile, a Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush is now on its way to Sophie.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, believes Sophie is a fantastic role model and fully deserving of the award.

Dr Carter says: “Sophie’s commitment to improving the oral health of the most vulnerable in her local community is amazing. Giving her time to help others achieve a healthy smile speaks volumes about her passion for oral health but also for her community.”

“Sophie sets a wonderful example to her patients and colleagues and we are delighted to be able to recognise her efforts. Children’s oral health in Leicester is amongst the worst in the UK, but with role models like Sophie, we can look to turn the tide and create a happier and healthier future for everyone.”

For more information about Nominate A Smile and the National Smile Month campaign head to www.smilemonth.org. The Oral Health Foundation also run a Dental Helpline with professionally trained dental advisors on hand to answer calls. The Dental Helpline is open from Monday to Friday from 9am – 5pm and can be reached on 01788 539780.