Mewing may sound like a strange term, but it’s gained a considerable amount of attention on TikTok and YouTube, with thousands searching “how to mew” in hopes of getting the secret to a chiseled jawline.
But does mewing actually work, or is it just another fad? Many oral and maxillofacial surgeons and orthodontists have weighed in on the topic, and their opinions are mixed.
To find out, we consulted the experts. This article explains what mewing is, how to do it, and provides some insight into whether or not it’s effective in helping you achieve a more chiseled jawline.
Mewing is a facial reconstruction technique that involves training your tongue to sit on the roof of your mouth but not touching your front teeth whenever your mouth is closed. The goal? To achieve a chiseled jawline. It’s basically social media’s alternative to orthognathic surgery without the knife and anesthesia. At least, that’s how the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery puts it.
Some believe practicing mewing can change the shape of your face and make it more defined over time. Others say it can help improve sleep and speech disorders, but there’s not much research to support these claims.
Dr. Kevin Huffman, DO, and board-certified bariatric physician, says that people mew for different reasons. “Some individuals hope to improve their jawline or facial structure, while others want to address breathing difficulties or dental issues,” said Dr. Huffman. “However, it’s important to understand that there’s limited scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of mewing for these purposes. Additionally, the safety and proper technique of mewing are still topics of debate and concern within the medical community.”
The theory behind mewing
In the 1970s, a British orthodontist named Dr. John Mew came up with mewing as an alternative to traditional orthodontics. His son Mike Mew (also an orthodontist) continues to promote this practice today. They’re a holistic pair, and you can read about their family business in The New York Times.
According to the Mews, the theory behind mewing is that the positioning of your tongue and facial muscles can affect the growth and development of your jaw and facial structures. Specifically, their theory suggests that the tongue posture against the palate, with lips sealed and teeth in or near contact, can guide the growth of the jaws and help realign the teeth.
While we’d love to sit here and say that mewing is some newly rediscovered magical solution to redefining a baby face into a chiseled jawline, the truth is that there’s not much out there to prove its effectiveness.
“The effectiveness of mewing is a subject of debate,” said Dr. T N Rekha Singh, MBBS, MD. “While anecdotal reports claim positive results, scientific evidence is limited. Some research suggests that mewing only produces temporary effects, which may be caused by muscle fatigue rather than actual bone remodeling.”
Aesthetic dermatologists agree that mewing can help improve facial structure, but Dr. Singh warns that if done improperly or without proper guidance, it could lead to potential issues like gum recession and temporomandibular joint problems (TMJ).
If you’re interested in trying out mewing, here are some basic steps to get you started:
- Close your mouth and relax your jaw.
- Rest your bottom teeth behind your upper front teeth. Your lips should be sealed but not pressed tightly together.
- Place the entire surface of your tongue against the roof of your mouth, from the back to the tip.
- Hold for 20 seconds and repeat several times throughout the day.
According to the London School of Facial Orthotropics, training yourself to hold this position naturally could take 14 months to two years.
Mewing before and after
Hundreds of before and after pics circulating on social media show the supposed results of mewing, but take them with a grain of salt. Not only could they be photoshopped, but mewing isn’t the only way to get a chiseled jawline.
Exercise, including neck curl-ups, chin-ups, and tongue twisters, eating a healthy diet of whole fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while limiting sugary drinks and other processed foods and sweets, getting enough sleep, and managing stress can all contribute to overall facial structure and appearance.
If you’re serious about getting a chiseled jawline, consider working with a personal trainer. They can help you create a workout routine tailored to your needs and goals.
If you want to improve your jawline, mewing isn’t a magic pill — there’s limited evidence for it, so be sure to research and talk to a doctor first. And don’t forget to hit the gym and eat healthy, too!
“It’s crucial for those interested in trying mewing to consult with healthcare professionals like orthodontists or otolaryngologists who can provide evidence-based guidance on oral posture techniques and their potential impact on facial health and development,” advised Dr. Huffman.
If you already have jaw or tooth pain, seeing a doctor is even more important. You may need surgery, braces, or tooth repair or removal.