What if you could correct orthodontic issues, sleep apnea and a weak jawline all with a simple exercise? That is what Dr. John Mew and his son have been teaching their followers for decades with a tongue technique called mewing. The idea is that changing your resting tongue posture can reshape your mouth and jaw structure for better health and appearance. If you wonder, “What is mewing and does mewing work?” here is the basic philosophy, history, techniques and evidence on mewing for jaw and alignment treatment.
What Is Mewing?
Mewing, named after the founder Dr. John Mew, is the technique of resting the tongue on the roof of the mouth. The natural posture of the mouth during rest is for the tongue to lay on the bottom of the mouth with the mouth slightly open. Mewing is the practice of resting the tongue flat against the top of the mouth with the lips closed and the teeth together. It is believed this technique can help improve teeth alignment and the structure of the jaw to address orthodontic issues.
History and Philosophy of Mewing
Dr. John Mew was an orthodontist in the United Kingdom in the 1970s when he began studying the theory of mewing. His son, Dr. Mike Mew, is also an orthodontist in the UK and continues to promote the method of mewing. The philosophy behind mewing is that through evolution, the jaw in humans has become smaller. This is the reason that many people struggle with overcrowded teeth that can cause crooked and misaligned teeth. The combination of a smaller jaw paired with the same size and number of teeth can result in:
- Crowded, overlapped and crooked teeth
- Jaw misalignment
- Higher risk for sleep apnea and TMJ
- A narrower, weaker jawline
The Mew doctors believed that changes in diet and lifestyle over the centuries have resulted in the narrower jaw with smaller muscles. Softer foods require less chewing, leading to the modern, smaller jaw that crowds teeth and may be less attractive to some people. The practice of mewing includes learning “proper tongue posture” as well as encouraging children to eat tougher foods to aid in building a stronger jaw.
How Does Mewing Work?
The use of mewing techniques is touted to change the jaw structure and help with teeth alignment. The goal is to reconfigure the muscles and tendons that control the tongue and jaw to impact the natural alignment and appearance of the jaw. It is believed by followers of mewing that by constantly using this tongue posture whenever resting the mouth, it can result in better jaw alignment, as well as reshaping the jawline for a wider jaw that is square and more pronounced.
Dr. John Mew believed that feeding kids tough vegetables and teaching mewing from an early age could help reshape narrow jaws. Dr. John Mew claims to have used the mewing theory on his son Mike as he was growing up, resulting in his straight alignment and square jaw. This method is believed by his and Dr. Mike Mew’s followers to minimize the need for orthodontics and improve the appearance of the jawline.
Modern Mewing Craze
While mewing has been a theory for almost fifty years, it has become more popular in the last few years. A young man who wanted to widen his jaw and improve his breathing began using mewing and shared his results on social media. The fringe fad went viral and many people have attempted to use mewing to improve their jaw appearance or alter their teeth alignment. More and more people are wondering “What is mewing and does mewing work?” as they see videos and before/after photos of those who have tried tongue posturing.
Does Mewing Work for Improving Jaw Alignment or Appearance?
There is no concrete evidence that mewing is successful in changing the jaw alignment or appearance. While many people report that they have had positive results using mewing to improve issues like sleep apnea, mouth breathing, jaw pain and jaw appearance, there has not been any research or studies to prove that mewing works. However, most doctors, dentists and orthodontists agree that there is no harm in using the tongue posture method promoted by users of mewing, but users should set realistic expectations.
Is Mewing Right for You?
While mewing may not be harmful, there are more reliable medical treatments for jaw and teeth disorders. If you have orthodontic issues, sleep apnea or concerns about your jaw appearance, it is best to talk to the appropriate doctor about your condition. A dentist or orthodontist can discuss evidence-based treatments that can straighten teeth and realign the jaw, as well as sleep apnea therapy. For concerns about the appearance of the jaw, a plastic surgeon can offer suggestions on treatments or cosmetic surgery to reshape the jawline.