In America, teenagers think that braces are awkward, dorky and annoying. But in Asia, braces are cool. They're so cool in fact, that teens in Thailand, Indonesia and China are even wearing fake braces to make a fashion statement, Vice Magazine reported. The trend is catching on because braces are considered a sign of wealth and status.
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The problem? Fake braces are also dangerous. Fake braces have been linked to the deaths of two Thai teens so far, Vice reported, leading the Thai government to ban fashion braces. Officials say that some of the illegal braces that were seized contained lead.
The trend has being going on for at least four years, and Indonesian star Andika Kangen recently started wearing pink-and-green fake braces, the AFP reported.Teens are paying around $100 for black market braces.
YouTube tutorials tell teens how to wear fake braces, and various blogs continue to promote the look.
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It's not the first time the trend has drawn international attention--and government concern. "Some people put the fashion (braces) on by themselves, which is dangerous because they could come loose and slip into the throat," the secretary-general of the Consumer Protection Board in Thailand told CBS in 2009.