Apparently this "trend" has been going on for "years," and has the media "buzzing," so forgive me if you're already a weary old soldier in the "fashion braces" craze. I just heard about it today. Seems vaguely hoaxy, in a Mexican Pointy Boots kind of way, but then again I totally remember some twinges of confused jealousy as an orthodonture-free child. All those colorful rubberbands to pick out! So many options for seasonal coordination! Wherever there's a club—no matter how unglamorous—there's a kid who wants to be in that club. And I'm sure brace-decoration-technology (?) has only improved since I was young, making them ripe for customization and bedazzling and conspicuous consumption. (Wait, is Xzibit busy?)
So, sure. Fake fashion braces:
The media has been abuzz over the past week with reports of youngsters in Southeast Asia buying black market braces — fake metal-and-rubber mouth accessories in a rainbow of colors and designs (Hello Kitty and Mickey Mouse are popular options) — for around $100 a pop.
Aside from the fashion statement, wearing a mouthful of braces has the added allure of being a status symbol. In Bangkok, paying for dental care is costly, with real braces running around $1,200 — a hefty sum for the average family.
But as Oddity Central website points out, fake braces have a dark side: they can come loose and slip into the throat, or can cause sores on the gums and inside the mouth. Plus some of the wires may contain lead.
The website Vice UK writes that fake braces were the cause of death for two teens.
Photo credit: Mikko / Stockfresh.