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.
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.
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
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