Strange dental trends take shape in Asia and beyond


August 7, 2013

You know about grills by now – those flashy tooth covers that people like Breaking Bad's Tuco Salamanca wear to give their face a little extra pizazz – but have you heard about Play-A-Grill? What about LED Teeth? Tseuke-yaeba? How about braces as a status symbol and not an orthodontic treatment? Some of these trends have been covered before on DentistryiQ, but here’s an outline of what’s happening in mouths the world over.

Drug king Tuco Salamanca from "Breaking Bad"

Let’s start with Play-A-Grill, the mp3 player that is controlled by the tongue, worn over the teeth, and plays music only audible to the wearer. Instead of using sound waves that travel through the air, Play-A-Grill uses sound waves that play through solids, such as bone. (Did you know that was possible?) Learn more about it here:

LED Teeth are not as exciting – at least to me anyway. It makes you look as if you’ve been chewing on something radioactive. I guess maybe that’s what is fueling the zombies in “Party In Your Mouth,” a video you can see here:

As we shared earlier this year, women in Japan are paying around $400 to have their teeth made crooked. They’re going for the “snaggletooth” image, or tseuke-yaeba, as it’s called in Japan. There’s even a female musical group called TYB48 (Tseuke-Yaeba48), created by the dentist who pioneered the procedure. (Don’t you wish you’d thought of it?)

And in Asian countries outside of Japan – namely Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia – teens are wearing braces on perfectly straight teeth because it’s cool. Apparently, spending $100 on fake braces conveys that you can afford the expensive procedure. There is a fine for selling fake braces and the threat of prison time if you’re caught.

Let's not overlook the grills that are so popular with celebrities at the moment. The list of gold and diamond encrusted mouths includes a lot of women lately, such as Miley Cyrus, Ke$ha, Beyonce, and Rihanna. Find out more about Rihanna's new gold machine gun grill.

Lauren Burns is the editor of Proofs magazine and the email newsletters RDH Graduate and Proofs. She is currently based out of New York City. Follow her on Twitter: @ellekeid.

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