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Brace face…metal mouth…the insults never seem to stop for children and adolescents who had to wear braces. So who would’ve ever guessed that braces would be the newest fashion statement? Well, at least in Thailand they are.

Trendy teenagers, including Thai pop stars, are afixing their teeth with metal gear. According to posts on the Global Post website, teenagers are calling braces "nice and cute" but Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health isn’t as impressed. In fact, the Ministry has warned teenagers to stop the new trend five times because of the health risks. The problem is that kids who can’t afford to go to the dentist are shopping for braces at flea markets or in people’s living rooms, literally, and having them crudely attached "by entrepreneurs with mail-order dental supplies".

The amateur braces are much cheaper than their genuine counterparts: $24 per row of teeth and $45 for a complete set. However, the amateur versions can cause blood poisoning, infections (from dirty dental tools), nerve damage, and loosened or dislodged fillings. Fashion does have its consequences: the Thai Ministry is particularly concerned after two recent deaths. Specifically, a 17-year-old girl died after suffering an infected thyroid, which resulted in heart failure, and a 14-year-old also died as a result of the braces.

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