Yes, DIYs are easy, cheap and natural— we couldn’t agree more. When things sitting in your pantry can be used to whip up an anti-aging potion or a stress-relieving tea, why spend exorbitant amounts on expensive products full of chemicals from the market?

However, this doesn’t apply to everything. A few months ago, teenagers took to social media posting pictures and videos of their bee-stung lips in a quest for the Kylie Jenner pout. The trend, which went viral on Twitter with the hashtag #KylieJennerChallenge, created quite a stir but left them behind with injuries and deformities.

Unfortunately, the DIY bug has found its way again among the younger lot, where they’ve now taken up the responsibility of what’s best left to the experts—straightening of teeth. A video, posted about three years ago on YouTube by a teenager called Shalom DeSota under the username singerforeverlove, has suddenly become an overnight sensation as it demonstrates how rubber bands can be used to create easy DIY braces to close the gap between your teeth.

The Gap Band: Cheap & Interesting, But Painful & Dangerous
“Cheap, easy braces!! Without going to the dentist!!!” is what DeSota named her video and while this does sound attractive and exciting, it can end up severely ruining the shape of your teeth. This bizarre trend, however, seems to have gained rapid momentum in the country where braces can cost more than $5,000. Teenagers, who are conscious about the way their teeth look but can’t afford to pay for braces, are conveniently ignoring the risks and falling for this DIY method.

Expert Talk
Dental experts across the country are warning parents about the health risks of this DIY trend, which can even leave you toothless!

“Although you can move teeth with rubber bands, you have no control over that movement and you can actually end up damaging the teeth and the supporting bone structures underneath,” says Dr Karen Cottingham of Cottingham Orthodontics in Indianapolis.

Dr Christina Carter, an orthodontist, pediatric dentist and president elect of the Northeastern Society of Orthodontists, doesn’t approve of the new trend either and was quoted saying to NBC news, “There are so many things that can go wrong with this. A simple rubber band can actually slide up the tooth and cut all the attachments to it, causing you to lose a tooth.”

Why You Should Stay Away

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The American Association of Orthodontists has issued a warning about this disturbing trend, which can visibly damage teeth in just four weeks. And yes, although a $5 box of rubber bands does seem like a steal to get your dream, movie-star teeth, don’t forget that you only get one set of adult teeth. So please, handle with care!

For more interesting stories, visit our Health page. Read more about Diseases & Conditions here.

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