Mewing is a method used to form the jawline and face by inserting the tongue.
It is a technique that is increasingly popular on social media sites, but there is currently no scientific evidence to support this.
Here we explain the origin of the mewing theory, and see if there is any science behind it. We also offer alternative facial shaping options.
What is mewing?
Mewing is a technique that some people argue can improve jawline aesthetics.
Mewing involves placing the tongue against the mouth’s roof while the lips are closed and the teeth are held together.
Mewing’s reported advantages include a well-defined jawline, and better chin and nose alignment.
Anecdotal reports have suggested mewing could help solve:
- sleep apnea
- breathing and swallowing problems
- speech disorders
- temporomandibular joint dysfunction
Mewing is essentially the positioning of the tongue against the roof of the mouth according to internet sites that endorse the technique. The entire tongue should rest on the mouth’s roof, sitting between the molars.
The recommendation is to keep the tongue in this place whenever the mouth is closed, until it becomes a normal position of rest.
If holding the tongue in this position is new to humans, at first they may find it tiring. Apparently, if they mew correctly, a person should feel a mild pressure across their face, jaw, and chin midway through.
Mewing gets its name from the orthodontist Dr. John Mew who came up with the procedure and invented the word “orthotropics.”
His uncle, Mike Mew, is also an orthotropics practitioner. Orthotropics is a practice which focuses on changing the shape of the jawline and face through facial and oral posture and exercise.
Recently the General Dental Council took away dental license from John Mew. Because of Mew’s disapproval of traditional orthodontic procedures, and his unorthodox beliefs and practices, they agreed on this step.
Users on social media and video sites, such as YouTube, have increased mewing’s popularity as a technique for improving the jawline over the last 2 years.
Does it work?
All support to mewing’s advantages so far comes from social media sites, which have no expert regulation on the subject.
Several posts and blogs have also warned about the dangers of becoming obsessed with mewing as a method of treatment. Mewing is not scientifically proven, and may provide the desired results or may not.
Some anecdotal evidence suggests visible results in a matter of months, but most sites believe that, if they ever do, it could take years for a person to see effects.
Most proponents of social media mewing are adolescents, whose faces and jawlines are likely to change spontaneously during adolescence, rather than as a result of this technique.
There is no evidence to support mewing as an alternative to jaw surgery or other forms of face shaping which are medically backed.
Other face shaping treatments
When individuals have a misaligned jaw which can be considered malocclusion by doctors, they may need corrective jaw surgery. Jaw procedure is also known as orthognathic surgery.
Surgery can help the upper and lower jaws to be realigned by moving one or both of them backwards or forward into aligned position. Individuals may also have braces on their teeth to assist in alignment.
After jaw surgery an orthodontist may recommend some jaw exercises to be performed. To obtain the best results from the surgery, it’s important to follow these carefully.
Face contouring may be a good option for people who want to shape their face for cosmetic reasons.
Facial contouring, or facial sculpting, changes the appearance of the jawline, nose, and cheeks using cosmetic surgery. A cosmetic surgeon may use injections of botulinum toxin (Botox) and dermal fillers to alter the facial appearance.
A clinician must examine the person thoroughly and take a complete medical history before treatment to make sure it is safe.
Radiofrequency is another technique people may use to shape their faces. Often people use this procedure to treat the drooping skin— called lax skin — that can occur around the jaw and cheeks.
Radio waves produce a current of energy which is transferred to the skin by a clinician. The radiofrequency causes heat damage to the skin which stimulates increased production of collagen to repair tissue in deep layers of the skin.
Radiofrequency procedures can differ widely in skin laxity, and there is still insufficient evidence to conclude whether they are safe or effective.
Mewing is a technique which proponents claim may over time reshape the jaw. Mewing involves placing the tongue on the mouth’s roof, which over time will potentially reshape the jaw.
There is currently no scientific evidence to prove mewing is an effective facial reshaping technique.
Though some anecdotal reports suggest it works, online comparison photos can often be misleading before and after comparison.
People may or may not experience mewing effects and it may take years, if at all, to see a difference.
If people want their face shaped or their jaw realigned for cosmetic or medical reasons, it is best to consult a doctor.
Other facial shaping approaches, such as surgery or facial contouring, have more supporting scientific evidence and may be more effective.