If you've ever gone deep into the rabbit hole that is YouTube, there's a good chance you've come across a video (or a hundred) about mewing. From tutorials to die hard believers to the warnings of the dangers, there are a lot of mewing videos out there, and some of them have millions of views.
But why are people doing this weird thing with their tongue? What is the purpose of it? Is this a technique you need to know?
Does it even work, or is it just another silly online trend that will waste time?
Good news: you're about to learn. Here's our complete beginner's guide to mewing.
What is Mewing?
Mewing refers to a way of positioning the tongue inside the mouth in an attempt to reshape and restructure the jawline. Believers in the technique swear that, with enough practice, you can create a more defined jawline and better align your chin and nose.
Mewing is mostly about aesthetics. A few clicks online and you'll find "before" pictures of men and women with what you might call a weak chin and "after" pictures of male model-types with chiseled jawlines.
The position of the tongue can indeed affect your jawline, underbite and overbite. But mewing isn't for everyone. Why? Because for most people, their tongues already fall into the right position naturally.
If your tongue already aligns in the mouth the way it should, we suggest you skip the mewing and focus on some other hobby instead.
At its core, the mewing technique is used mostly by people looking to alter their jawline and, ultimately, alter their face shape. However, proponents of the technique claim that it can also help people with sleep apnea, breathing problems, swallowing problems, and sinusitis.
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How Did Mewing Start?
The concept of mewing has been around for decades, but the new craze and the new name comes from British orthodontist Dr. John Mew. Dr. Mew, along with his son, Dr. Mike Mew, refer to their technique as orthotropics. The concept of orthotropics, plus a slew of YouTube videos claiming that it actually works, is to thank (or blame) for this new trend.
Like all things made popular on YouTube and social media, some people are diehard believers while others think it's worthless information. We can’t say for sure if mewing is good or bad. But it is worth noting that the General Dental Council stripped John Mew of his dental license because of his unconventional practices and unusual treatment methods.
Yet for years, some orthodontists have (sort of) been instructing patients to mew; they just didn’t call it that.
Mewing is all about having the proper tongue alignment. And because dentists and orthodontists understand the importance of this, many have recommended that their patients practice proper tongue posture.
Why does tongue posture matter?
Because having the tongue in the proper position can help to correct certain speech impediments and define the jaw in an attempt to reduce jaw pain.
By maintaining the correct tongue posture, you can alter the jawline's shape, though orthodontic professionals recommend it to minimize pain and promote jaw health, not necessarily for cosmetic reasons.
If you want to check out Dr. Mew for yourself, visit his YouTube channel, Orthotropics. He’s got plenty of videos touting its benefits.
How to Mew
Are you ready to give mewing a try? Here's how to do it:
- Start by closing your mouth and allowing your teeth to touch
- Relax the entire tongue and press it lightly up to the roof of your mouth, including the back of the tongue
- If your tongue is in the right position, you'll feel a bit of pressure in your jaw and some strain on your jaw muscles
- Maintain this position for as long as you can and as often as you can
- Focus on nasal breathing rather than mouth breathing
Do not roll the tip of your tongue along the roof of your mouth. The trick with mewing is to keep your tongue pressed flat against the roof of the mouth, even though it may feel unnatural. The more you mew, the more likely you are to get used to this resting tongue position.
Hard Mewing vs. Soft Mewing
Some social media mewers claim that hard mewing is more effective (and provides faster results) than regular mewing or soft mewing. But there is no evidence to support that.
The main difference between hard mewing and soft mewing is the force with which you apply pressure on your palate.
With regular mewing, you hold your tongue in a certain position to create a vacuum between your palate and tongue. With hard mewing, you press your tongue against the palate as hard as you can.
If you’re going to attempt mewing, make sure that you do it properly. Doing it incorrectly can lead to some nasty side effects that are way worse than your jaw's profile or shape.
The biggest mistake that people make is having the wrong tongue posture. The tip of the tongue should not rest against your incisors. The proper posture is to have the back of your tongue rest on the spot behind your incisors.
Ideally, you want the back of your tongue to rest against the roof of your mouth (but not block your airways).
In addition, it’s important not to apply too much pressure or to clench your teeth. If you’re doing it right, it should feel relatively comfortable.
The Dangers of Mewing
If you mew with your tongue in the wrong position, you could suffer side effects. Here are some of the dangers that may experience if you don’t mew properly:
Both teeth clenching and improper tongue posture can cause jaw pain. Some people have a tendency to clench their jaw or teeth too hard to keep their tongue in position. If you do this, you could create unnecessary pain in your jaw.
It can be even more dangerous if you already have jaw issues or jaw joint problems.
The buccinators are those thin muscles between the maxilla and mandible. They exist on each side of the face and if you have the wrong mewing posture, you can also cause them to grow. Enlarged buccinators are nothing to joke about – they can actually lead to problems with breathing and swallowing.
Poor mewing habits can cause you to see dark circles on the face. You need the right tongue posture to support the skull properly, so if your tongue is in the wrong place, you could see darkening of the skin in spots.
If you clench your teeth too tight or put your tongue in the wrong position, mewing may lead to crooked teeth. If you start mewing and see changes in the positioning of your front teeth, be sure to consult your dentist.
If you mew with your tongue wedged too hard between your teeth, you could cause scalloping on the sides of your tongue.
Hard mewing in particular can cause headaches. By pressing the tongue forcibly against the palate, you can also end up with a swollen tongue.
Does Mewing Really Work?
Visit certain YouTube channels and you'll find dozens of people demonstrating mewing tutorials and claiming that mewing has completely reshaped their face. You'll also see lots of before and after photos that lead many to believe that it works.
But photos can always be altered, and images can vary dramatically depending on lighting tricks and makeup techniques.
Visit one of the many Reddit mewing threads and you'll find people who swear by it as well as those who have tried it with no success. Whichever camp you're in, there seems to be one consensus:
Mewing results vary from person to person, so be realistic in your expectations!
There is no scientific evidence to prove or disprove the effects of mewing. But what we do know is this:
You can't always trust what you see or read on social media.
Can Mewing Actually Reshape Your Jawline?
Even mewing believers will admit that it takes years of practice to see your results. So unless you've got a lot of patience, there are better (and proven) ways to correct your jawline and change the shape of your face in a much shorter amount of time.
If you're looking to minimize jaw pain or fix an underbite, speak to your dentist or orthodontist. If you want to restructure your cheekbones or re-align your nose, learn how to apply cosmetics like a pro or, if you must, consult a cosmetic surgeon.
Mewing at home won't cost you anything or require you to visit any doctors, but there is a possibility you may suffer side effects if not done properly.
So if you want to fix your jaw the traditional way, see a physician. And if you think the DIY method is a better option for you, then go ahead and mew.
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