Mewing: What is it and does it help to shape the jawline?

Mewing is a facial reconstruction technique where your tongue stays flush against the roof of your mouth. But is there any science to it?

Be it jaw pain or other orthodontic concerns or even cosmetic reasons such as getting a defined jawline, mewing is a technique that is claimed to be the solve for many issues. While this method of oral posture training method is not one that is guaranteed by much scientific research, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) claims that tongue alignment can alter the shape of your jaw and facial structure, but only to an extent.

Mewing is technique that involves a certain position of the tongue that should be maintained while doing all activities including eating and drinking water. The habit, of course, takes time to cultivate. Oral and dental surgeon Dr Arijit Sengupta tells Health Shots all about the origin of mewing and the claims that it makes.

What is mewing?

Mewing is a facial technique where the tongue is flush against the roof of your mouth. As for as mewing goes, supporters of the technique claim that if you mew, you can change the shape of your face and get a more refined jawline. “There is also claim of mewing helping with jaw pain, orthodontic issues as well as addressing breathing concerns,” says Dr Sengupta.

A lady clenching her teeth
Mewing is a facial technique which promises to change the shape of your face. Image courtesy: Freepik

Doctors who practice mewing claim that in today’s times, due to breathing through the mouth and eating rather soft-textured foods, people’s jaws are becoming smaller. This is leading to overcrowding of the teeth. Mewing can help expand the jawline and realign the teeth, as per the online buzz.

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What is the origin of mewing?

The history of mewing can be traced back to the 1970s courtesy Dr John Mew, a professor at London School of Facial Orthotropics. He formulated the technique, and came up with the term; ‘Orthotropics’. His son Mike Mew helps his patients change the shape of their face and jawline by using oral postures and exercises.

How to mew?

Here are the basic steps to practice mewing, according to the London School of Facial Orthotropics.

1. Close your mouth, including the lips, so that your teeth are touching and your lips are sealed.
2. Relax your tongue completely.
3. Place the body of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, with the tip of your tongue near the back of the upper front teeth.
4. Maintain this posture for as long as possible and repeat regularly.

According to the theory of mewing, following these steps can help one get straighter teeth and a better face structure. The changes should be visible in 14 months to two years. However, maintaining this position is not easy and one would have to train oneself in order to get consistency.

What does science say about mewing?

There is no big scientific research behind mewing or the achievements that it claims. “One could assume that there may be some cases where physiological changes in the jaw occurring overtime naturally has improved the facial aesthetics, rather from mewing,” says Dr Sengupta.

In fact, the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery notes that the General Dental Council in UK has taken away John Mew’s dental license because of these unconventional practices that he has propagated in order to solve dental issues. The council also states that simply changing the position of your tongue is cannot correct misaligned teeth or the shape of your jaw.

Also Read: Noticed a sudden gap between your teeth? Know why it happens and how to prevent it

What can go wrong with mewing?

It is very important that if you have dental concerns, you sees a doctor and get your answers. There are so many things that could go wrong when following a technique which is not yet studied and tested, asserts Dr Sengupta.

A woman at the dentist
It is important to go to a dentist if you are facing dental issues, rather than trying techniques that are not scientifically backed. Image courtesy: Freepik

Improper mewing could actually lead to the same problems that it is purposed to treat, such as:

1. Malocclusions (misaligned teeth)
2. Misaligned bite
3. Pain in the jaw joints and surrounding muscles and ligaments, known as TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain
4. Loose teeth
5. Speech problems
6. Swallowing issues

These pose a serious threat on an individual’s daily tasks, thus disrupting the whole facial and dental system. It’s safer and more effective to visit a dental surgeon until further studies and researches come up with a definite result and technique.