Teens Are Strangely Making and Wearing Fake Braces

April 27th 2017

Thor Benson

Teens are sharing images and instructional videos that show how to make fake braces, and it has some orthodontists concerned about the disturbing new trend.

Taped Mouth

Articles and videos explaining how to make fake braces using paper clips, tin foil and rubber bands are all over the internet, according to the National Post. There's even a WikiHow article with pictures and instructions that has received over 600,000 views.

DIY braces

“For us, it’s very, very scary,” Colleen Adams, a Vancouver, B.C., orthodontist, told National Post. “Teeth actually move quite readily. That’s the problem. You have to move them with force systems designed to move them the way you want.”

Some articles across the internet claim teenagers around the world will wear fake braces simply as a fashion statement, instead of as an attempt to fix teeth. Those articles also point out the risks of putting fake braces in your mouth.

The trend of wearing fake braces is most common in Asia, according to Colgate, which stated how governments in places like Thailand are even criminalizing selling fake braces. "Orthodontic treatment is considered a sign of financial prosperity in many countries outside the U.S. For this reason, fake braces for kids are becoming popular in several parts of the world," Colgate states. "Real braces can cost around $1,200 in Asia, so teens who want to appear wealthy and stylish are choosing to spend just $100 for imitations. But they take on certain risks by doing so."

DIY Braces

Colgate claims there are three main risks when it comes to fake braces:

  • During the fitting, the braces can slip into the wearer's throat and cause choking.
  • The metals used in the braces contain lead, which is toxic to the wearer's system.
  • Fake braces may also lead to mouth sores that can become infected, and the glue used to attach the brackets to the teeth can cause discoloration and tooth decay.

A Vice article from 2012 also claimed that fake braces have taken the lives of many children across Asia. A 17-year-old Thai girl with fake braces got a thyroid infection, which led to heart failure, and another 14-year-old Thai girl died from using them for unexplained reasons.

paul wall grill

As a Medium article from last year points out, it may seem ridiculous for kids to put on fake braces as a fashion symbol, but it's not so different from rappers in America who started the trend of wearing "grillz" in their mouths. There are many different ways people have tried to stylize their teeth.

The important thing to remember is it's not safe, and it's definitely not going to fix your teeth. However, earrings and fake eyelashes are usually decent alternatives for those who want to accessorize their body.