It is rare for fashion trends must last as long as 60 years . But a tradition it has never gone out of style in the generation of young people in Cape Town and other regions of South Africa - dental changes . It sounds strange , but the South African youngsters to sport really toothless smiles , after getting their front teeth removed . Most dressed in baggy sweaters and caps drawn low over shiny sunglasses , the gummy smile is unique to the young South African to strike gangster poses . According to the 21 - year -old Yazeed Adams , " It is fashion , everyone has it . " This trend is often referred to as the " Cape Flats Smile ' . The name comes from the crowded neighborhoods where this strange body modification is done by a large number of young people . But Jacqui Friedling of human biology department of the University of Cape Town , who studied the phenomenon in 2003 , saying that he found fashion and peer pressure to be the main reasons for removing teeth , followed closely by medical reasons and gangsterisms . " It was the 'in ' to do , " he said . " It went through a wave , it was fashionable at the time of my parents ' . " True enough , the practice has been around for at least 60 years now . Traditionally , dental changes such as tooth filling and decoration are found only in tribal people . In modern Cape Town , it is seen as a rite of passage for teenagers , most often from poorer families . Some stories say that the tradition started from the fisherman , who can not communicate with each other on the boat . So they created the ' gap whistle ' as an effective means of communication . The men now feel their ' gaps ' to attract women , and vice versa .
Of course , it's not always good to have a big gap where your teeth should be . Food would be a terrible ordeal and formal occasions call for the entire smile . For times like these, dentures come to rescue . It 's funny to see that people in Cape Town go to the dentist to get their teeth healthy and then get out the dentures from the same dentist . But that's exactly what happens . By Rob Barry from the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of the Western Cape , the frequency of removal of teeth has increased even practice dentist is ethically barred from removing healthy teeth . " Almost every week I get some or other teenager in here wanting teeth out , " he said . He made himself thousands of partial dentures for people who need to make themselves look acceptable for employment and other social occasions . In fact dentures have become fashion statements on their own , as Friedling pointing out . Sometimes they are decorated with gold or bits of precious stones in various designs . " Here , it's a case of elevating themselves above the rest of their peers . The minute they can afford different sets of dentures , the idea is' I'm a bit better than you ' , " he said .
45 - year -old Ronald de Villiers lost all his teeth when he 's got a set of gold dentures which infected the rest of his mouth , which is not uncommon. His 11 and 14 - year -old boy ' them out there ' to look prettier . It is not all that difficult to find a dentist to remove the healthy teeth , he said . All it takes is a little extra money . Surprisingly, the practice was followed not only by color , but some whites and Chinese living alongside poor colored areas . Several years ago , studies were conducted and more than 2000 people were interviewed . 41 % of them modified their teeth . About 45 % were men . 42 % claimed to be moved by peer pressure , while 10 % took their teeth for the skills of gangsterism . Friedling says , " they said when they have gang fights they take the people 's teeth away , it 's like getting a bit of their wealth away . " Well , figure it . How do you break the teeth of a person when he is not in the first place . Why , take away his dentures , of course !
sources: The Telegraph, Vice, Metropolis TV