We know how teens in the West can’t wait until the day their dentists finally remove their dental braces. Now according to recent news, adolescents from Southeast Asia are reported to sport fake braces as a symbol of status, wealth and style.
While this facial accessory may seem strange to Westerners, dental braces have become a glamorous status symbol in the East where orthodontic care, or let alone basic dental care, can be quite a luxury.
Officials have warned that the metal wires on fake braces may contain lead, which could become loose and cause choking or even poisoning. The lead content may also cause sores on the gums and tissues inside the mouth.
Sources say that teens in Bangkok, Malaysia and Indonesia have been buying faux fashion braces for as little as AED367. Unlike genuine braces which cost around AED4400, these accessories do not need to be fitted by a dentist. They also come in an assortment of colors and designs, including Mickey Mouse and Hello Kitty.
But this new trend is not without health risks. Officials have warned that the metal wires on fake braces may contain lead, which could become loose and cause choking or even poisoning. The lead content may also cause sores on the gums and tissues inside the mouth.
These fake braces have already been linked to deaths of two teenagers in Thailand. In another instance, a 17-year-old from Khon Kaen (Thailand) reportedly contracted a thyroid infection from a slapdash pair of fake dental braces and her condition quickly advanced to fatal heart failure.
Although, steps are being taken to curb the worrisome fad, sales of these fake braces are yet to show no sign of slowing down. A few examples are certain blogs & websites in Malaysia like Braces Faces and Analicious that market fashion braces online. In Indonesia, these fake braces or ‘behel’ can also be bought online or from regular street markets and even beauty salons.