LAST_UPDATEFri, 22 Jun 2018 11pm

Stay Away From Fake Braces - Health Minister

Fake braces are commonly for fashion purposes and not for treatmentFake braces are commonly for fashion purposes and not for treatmentPETALING JAYA: Malaysians should not buy fake braces as they are not prescribed by qualified orthodontists and can be hazardous to health, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said yesterday.

"Malaysian public are cautioned not to purchase and use fake braces sold through the black market, at beauty salons, at open-air stalls or through online retailers.

"These braces are for fashion purposes. They are not prescribed by qualified orthodontists and are not meant for treatment," Liow said in a statement.

He said the wires in these fake braces are usually cut and bent with unsanitary household tools and despite their harmless and fun appearance, studies indicate the harmful presence of lead in the braces which could lead to lead poisoning.

"There are other health risks associated with fake braces – tooth decay, gum problems and mouth ulcers, soft tissue inflammation and resorption of roots of teeth.

"Damage to hard and soft tissue of the mouth and accidental swallowing of dislodged fittings may also occur, and there may also be allergies to the materials used," Liow said.

Fake braces were first reported in 2006 in Thailand, which has since banned them.

However, the trend has picked up in Asia as braces are considered a symbol of wealth, status and style as they come in various colours and designs.

Customers, mostly teenagers, reportedly buy these fake braces for RM100 to RM150, and instruction manuals are sometimes included with the purchase.

"The braces may come with a Do-It-Yourself kit with given instructions on how to use them; they may or may not be glued to the teeth.

"It is claimed they can last up to three to five months," Liow said.

- Michelle Chun / theSun