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Mewing, also known as orthotropics, is an exercise that allegedly reshapes the face and corrects jaw-related issues. It primarily involves teaching yourself a new tongue placement.
While it was recently popularized by the internet, the idea behind mewing has been around for decades. It’s named after John Mew, an orthodontist who had strong opinions about tongue posture and orthotropics.1
Proponents of the practice believe it can:
Medical experts debate the effectiveness of mewing, especially regarding face shape and structure.
The goal of mewing is to train the tongue to rest against the roof of the mouth until the new tongue posture feels natural and comfortable.
Supporters of mewing purport that changing your tongue position changes your face shape in a desirable way. They believe a combination of lifestyle and environmental factors have negatively affected the modern-day jawline. Practicing mewing is an effort to create a larger, more squared jaw while improving other aspects of health.
Practitioners of mewing, many of whom are not qualified to provide medical advice, have shared anecdotal reports of the technique’s effectiveness.
However, there is no scientific evidence that the practice results in structural changes to the face or positive health benefits. No peer-reviewed studies of mewing’s benefits exist.
The do-it-yourself technique of mewing requires only a few simple steps, including:
Mewing’s true believers recommend practicing the technique as often as possible until it becomes an automatic habit. However, even they will admit that if mewing is successful, it will take several months or years to see noticeable results.
Science does not support the claims of proponents of mewing. There is no credible evidence that the practice makes your jaw stronger or changes the shape of your face.
However, oropharyngeal exercises that resemble mewing have been proven to help people with sleep apnea and breathing problems.2 They can’t cure them, but they may improve their quality of life.
Medical professionals strongly caution against mewing as an alternative to evidence-based orthodontic or medical treatments. Some have expressed fears that the practice’s popularity may convince people to delay or opt-out of more effective treatments.3
Mewing is relatively safe. However, there are some risks connected to the practice.
The most important thing to consider if you want to try mewing is whether or not it will negatively impact any existing medical concerns. You should never try to fix a medical condition, such as sleep apnea or breathing issues, with mewing without consulting your doctor.
This warning is less about the damage mewing could do and more about not addressing a potentially fatal problem with proven medical treatment.
Some less severe side effects of mewing include:
If you’ve been mewing and are concerned about the side effects you’re experiencing, speak to your doctor for advice.
The only guaranteed way to change the structure of your jawline is to undergo oral and maxillofacial surgery. The most popular surgeries for facial restructuring include:4
You should always consult a medical doctor for treatment if you have breathing issues, jaw pain, or sleep apnea. If you want to correct a speech disorder, you may wish to explore speech therapy.
Mewing is a do-it-yourself technique that some believe can restructure your facial features and improve jaw-related issues. It involves training yourself to keep your tongue against the roof of your mouth.
There is no scientific evidence that mewing accomplishes what its proponents claim. Medical professionals advise caution when practicing mewing instead of seeking effective treatment. Always talk to your doctor if you’re interested in practicing mewing as a treatment.
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