Asian teens try to cement status with fake braces

Asian teens are reportedly buying fake braces as a status symbol. However, there have been deaths related to the phony braces.

From The Huffington Post:

“This orthodontia oddity has flourished in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, according to outlets.”

“Kids are forking over $100 for the black-market fashion braces to fool observers into thinking they can afford the authentic — and expensive — mouthworks, AFP reports.”

“Mickey Mouse and Hello Kitty are among the popular designs, but whimsical themes aside, the braces can also be dangerous. As notes, the faux braces have led to the deaths of two teens in Thailand, causing the government to crack down on vendors. Selling fashion braces now carries a punishment of up to six months in prison and a $1,300 fine, according to the report.”

“In 2009 — yes, this trend has some bite — CBS reported on the Thai government’s concern that parts could come loose and choke wearers, and that some of the braces contained lead.”

I think this totally makes sense as a status symbol. Your family would have to have money to really have braces. However, now that everyone knows about the fake ones I think school friends would assume they were fake and not real.

Are you surprised by this trend? Can you understand how this could be a status symbol? What would be comparable in American culture?

11 comments Add your comment

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 4th, 2013
1:09 pm

This was supposed to post at midnight but didn’t pop up and this time it actually wasn’t my fault — sorry there wasn’t a new topic up this morning.

Grace Slick

January 4th, 2013
1:23 pm



January 4th, 2013
1:29 pm

I’ve had braces twice myself … once as a teen and again as an adult, both times for medical reasons. I can understand how they could be seen as a status symbol because of the financial factor involved and I understand some American kids *love it* when they get braces, again because of the financial factor and the fact that it means their teeth will be nice and straight at the end of the process …

BUT, why someone would subject themselves to fake braces when they don’t *have* to have them kind of baffles me., even if I get how it could be a status symbol … comparable, I guess, to the kind of car a kid gets when he/she turns 18. Nobody wants to be that kid with a beat-up old car, but for those who are paying for their own, that can easily be the best car they can get.

But anyway, I went through the process twice for medical reasons. It was NOT pleasant either time and the second time involved orthognathic surgery on my jaws (which basically means making the smaller jaw the same size as the bigger one, using small plates and screws … I was on a liquid diet for a month after, which was REALLY hard), but you have to do what you have to do!

I really don’t think this is a trend that will be all that long-lasting … at least I hope it isn’t!


January 4th, 2013
2:17 pm

Are you talking braces or Grillz?

Grillz have been popular in the tween crowd (and among certain athletes..including Ryan Lochte) for a number of years now. Grillz as a trend makes sense…your teeth can glow in the dark, fash colors, all kinds of things. I get how kids like that.

Braces as in the dental necessities…that trend just seems dumb.

ATL Born and Raised

January 4th, 2013
3:24 pm

Ugh, I hated every minutes of braces.


January 4th, 2013
4:22 pm

Asians wearing hello kitty fake braces? Oh, the stereotype just waiting to spring to life…lol


January 4th, 2013
4:38 pm

BTW Lochte had an American Flag of gem stones as Grillz for the London Olympics.


January 4th, 2013
4:51 pm

The big status symbol when I was a teen wasn’t braces but rather wax lips. I came from a really small town.

just me

January 4th, 2013
5:29 pm

The big status symbol in my town was that beat up old car Erin was babbling about.


January 4th, 2013
9:36 pm

Speechless . . . interesting how it’s considered a status symbol. Couldn’t they just buy fake Coach purses?

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