News

Tweens are making braces out of paper clips, rubber bands — and predictably, it's damaging their teeth

Orthodontists in B.C. are aghast at a social media trend that is gaining popularity with tweens and teens: do-it-yourself braces.

The idea isn’t brand new, but an increasing number of images and online videos can be found on sites like Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube promoting the idea.

They mostly feature young girls sitting at kitchen tables, in their bedrooms or bathrooms, demonstrating how to loop together homemade teeth-straightening gadgets and then lasso them around incisors and canines.

The materials are simple: Tiny, often colourful, rubber bands as well as folded bits of aluminum foil, paper clips, fishing line, and pierced earring backs.

But the practice of wearing these contraptions to, say, close a gap between two front teeth or just to see what you might look like with real braces is worrying the professionals.

“For us, it’s very, very scary,” said Colleen Adams, a Vancouver orthodontist said. “Teeth actually move quite readily. That’s the problem. You have to move them with force systems designed to move them the way you want.”

Read the entire article on the National Post.