Brace yourself: Asian teenagers are wearing FAKE dental train tracks as a status symbol, but could they KILL their wearers?

By January 14, 2013 January 2nd, 2020 No Comments

Most children hate having to wear braces and other orthodontic paraphernalia, striking off on a calendar the days until the dentist removes them.

But not in some Southeast Asian countries, where teenagers are reportedly wearing fake train tracks glued to their teeth as a symbol of status, wealth and style – despite the fashion fad being blamed for the deaths of at least two youngsters.

Since genuine braces cost around £750, wearing them is a sign of financial prosperity. But adolescents in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia have been buying the faux oral accessories – which do not need to be fitted by a dentist – in a multitude of colours and designs, including Hello Kitty and Mickey Mouse, for as little as £62.

And some teenagers are even fitting them on their own, leading to serious health concerns that the tiny components – some of which are made of lead – could become loose and choke the wearer, or even cause poisoning.

The aesthetic braces have been tied to the deaths of two young people in Thailand, causing the government to tighten up restrictions around selling them.

One 17-year-old girl in Thailand’s northeast city of Khon Kaen was left with an infected thyroid after a bad fitting, which led to fatal heart failure.

And police in Chon Buri province connected an illegal braces market stall to the death of a 14-year-old girl.


But although the measures were introduced to curb the trend, the fake braces market shows no sign of slowing down, with blogs and websites such as Malaysia’s Braces Faces and Analicious selling fake metal dentistry online. 

Health experts have now warned young people against wearing fake fashion braces, and experts believe they are very dangerous and should be banned.

The fashion braces, known as ‘behel’ in Indonesia, can be purchased online or from open-air street markets and fitted at beauty salons.

Many local Asian models, actresses and musicians – including popular Indonesian singer Andika Kangen – sport colourful braces, leading young people to try and emulate them.

And photos of Western stars during their train-track-wearing days – including Gwen Stefani – appear on blogs dedicated to fashion braces.

The Thai Consumer Protection Board stated that the wires of the braces were dangerous because they contained lead – and Thai authorities have now banned the braces…Read more


This article was brought to you by the Smile Clinic in London West End is  general and cosmetic dentistry London with specialist in best dental implants London, cosmetic veneers, smile makeover, cosmetic dental bridge and cosmetic denture and dental implants dentures.

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