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What Is Mewing?

13 June 2019

 What Is Mewing? Does Mewing  Sharpen the Jawline?

 

Do you mew? No, I’m not being suggestive here. I’m talking about the latest viral trend on Youtube: mewing, the mouth exercise technique that claims to change the shape of your jawline and face. If you think that you’ve seen it all when it comes to viral trends on Youtube from the Ice Bucket challenge to the Bird Box challenge; the mewing craze is on a different logical dimension all together.

 

Social media is flooded with thousands of videos and tips dedicated to this alternative orthodontic technique of mewing. Supporters claim that this technique can sharpen one’s jawline, cure overbites and correct breathing patterns, without requiring botox, braces and surgery. Is mewing a legitimate orthodontic technique or another overhyped fad? Let’s look at what mewing involves and if it works.

 

Related post: Non-Invasive Botox Alternatives: Which Ones Work and Which Ones Don’t?

 

What Is Mewing?

 

 

Mewing is a mouth exercise named after father and son orthodontists Dr John Mew and Dr Mike Mew. Mewing is a form of orthotropics, (also coined by Dr John Mew), a fringe form of orthodontics that involves changing and guiding the growth of the jawline and face by oral exercises and changes in oral posture.

 

 

Both Dr John Mew and his son, Dr Mike Mew are regarded as mavericks for promoting orthotropics, their alternative brand of orthodontics. Dr John Mew was reprimanded by the General Dental Council in UK in 2010  and the younger Mew has been expelled from the British Orthodontic Society in 2018.

 

Despite its popularity and believers on Youtube and forums, mewing and orthotropics remains at best an alternative to orthodontics and a pseudoscience at worst; in conventional medicine and dentistry.

 

What does mewing involve?

 

 

As explained by Dr John Mew, mewing involves “simply resting your entire tongue on the roof of your mouth until it becomes an unconscious resting position for your tongue whenever your mouth is closed” as well as keeping the tongue firmly against the palate of the mouth while swallowing.

 

Dr Mew’s theory is that with these oral actions, the muscle actions on the upper jaw bone cause the shape of the skull to change over time. There is no scientific trial or study performed for mewing so far, but a search on social media will show that some users see improvements in their jawline shape and definition in a few weeks.

Is there any scientific data or studies to support mewing?

 

Currently, there is no published data or evidence for mewing. Although the concept behind mewing (using muscle movements to change facial structure) has some scientific basis, the jawline exercises in mewing still remain unproven for shaping the jawline.

 

 

On close scrutiny of the ‘clinical evidence’ that quoted by supporters of mewing will reveal that these published studies cannot be extrapolated as evidence to support mewing for shaping the jawline. Most of the ‘evidence’ quoted compromise of anecdotal cases, extrapolation from dental splints and conclusions unrelated to jawline shape.

 

Besides shaping your jawline, you can also activate your pineal gland and your psychic abilities. Anyone else felt trolled after watching this? It was so painful to watch her ramble about her psychic abilities.

The comments left on her video are savage tho #burn.

Does this lack of research and published evidence make mewing or orthotropics a sham or pseudoscience? Before we are quick to dismiss mewing, let’s next analyse the science of  the jawline exercises prescribed by Dr John Mew.

 

Analysing the science behind mewing.

 

Even though mewing has exploded in popularity over the last 1-2 years, the concept behind it- that the shape of the face changes to adapt to changes in pressure applied to the facial skeleton- is not new. Orthodontics, a subspecialty in dentistry, is based on the principle of applying forces to change dentition and the shape of the facial skeleton. An example of orthodontics is the use of braces to gently realign the position of teeth.

 

One often quoted example of facial structure changing to adapt to function and muscle posture is the ‘long face syndrome’ (adenoid facies) that occur in some people who breathe through their mouth because of long standing nasal obstruction. Children with blocked noses breathe with their mouths open when they sleep. With their mouths in an open position, the forces and pressure on their jaw structure are changed, causing abnormal development of the facial skeleton and causing the long face syndrome.

 

However, the relationship between form and function is more of an association rather than a causal relationship. This means that not all children with nasal obstruction have long faces although children with long faces have a higher likelihood of nasal obstruction.

 

What this means is that with consciously repositioning the tongue, the shape of the face may change. So the next thing we need to look at is whether the jawline exercise movements proposed by Dr John Mew are in fact the right muscles that can sharpen the jawline for that chiselled look.

 

So this where I’ll have to share that I’m skeptical of mewing because the science of these jawline exercises for shaping the jawline is not convincing. Here’s why:

 

The muscles that elevate the tongue are called the styloglossus and the palatoglossus. Both muscles are located deep in the neck and mouth.

 

 The muscles that elevate the tongue are called the styloglossus and the palatoglossus. Both muscles are located deep in the neck and mouth.

 

Secondly, the shape of the jawline is determined by the shape of the jaw bone (mandible), the muscles that line along the jawline (the masseter botox) and skin and soft tissues that envelope the edges of the mandible. And that is why treatments that change the shape of the jawline are centered around treating these three factors e.g. botox to reduce the size of the jaw muscles; surgery to shape the mandible bone; dermal fillers, face threadlifts and energy based treatments to sculpt the soft tissue enveloping the jawline.

 

It MAY be possible for mewing to sharpen the jawline over time. Again, as there is no published data to fall back on, changing your tongue position to alter the facial skeleton can take months to years to effect a change- not as soon as weeks. Afterall, changes in facial structure with in children with blocked nose and thumb sucking take months to years to be seen.

 

Why do people mew?

 

Although the scientific support for mewing is lacking, mewing continues to be extremely popular. A search on Google for ‘mewing’ turned out 1.4 million search results and Dr Mike Mew’s video on mewing on Youtube has garnered close to 1 million views.

 

I suppose the reason why so many people are using mewing to sharpen their jawline is because they feel that mewing is a non-invasive and cost effective ‘treatment’. Plus, mewing seems to be taking over the charts of recommended videos on Youtube.

 

How does mewing compare to jaw reduction botox, chin fillers and face threadlifts for sharpening the jawline?

 

I am very skeptical of how mewing or jawline exercises can sharpen the jawline- the science behind it is sketchy at best and there is no established evidence for them. One would expect that a technique and ‘specialty’ pioneered by Dr Mike Mew 50 years ago would have undergone scientific studies (and these studies would have been published) that would legitimise this ‘treatment’ and that ‘orthotropics’ would gain acceptance in mainstream medicine and most doctors.

   

Perhaps what would be give a sharper and more defined jaw without surgery would be jaw botox, chin fillers and face threadlifts. I’ve written a review on how jaw botox and chin fillers sculpt the jawline and you can see how I do it in this blogpost Jaw Reduction Botox and Chin Filler Review .

 

Essentially, when botox is injected into the jaw muscles (masseter muscles) at the sides of the jaw, the masseter muscle size is reduced to give the face a slimmer and sharper look. Chin fillers add volume and allow the chin and jawline to be sculpted for a sharper definition. Both males and females can have these treatments done to enhance their face shape. Unlike mewing, jaw botox and chin fillers are in clinic treatments which give faster results.

 

Silhouette Soft is one of the brands of threads I use for face threadlifts. The triangular cones on the thread help to lift and hold the skin and soft tissue in place.

 

The triangular cones on the thread help to lift and hold the skin and soft tissue in place. In situations where the jawline looks ‘blunted’ or undefined because of skin and soft tissue or sagging, the face threadlift is an option to lift up the skin and soft tissue. Threadlifts in the face and neck can be used to sharpen the face and treat signs of aging like the nasolabial laugh lines. My post on Neck Threadlifts  will take you through a threadlift and the FAQs.

 

Conclusion on mewing

 

 Frankly, I am not convinced that mewing can sharpen the jawline. Plus, despite the testimonials found on social media, there has not been scientific evidence to support these jawline exercises for defining the jaw. Mewing may not be harmful or damaging, but when it comes to sharpening or changing your the shape of your jawline, proven treatments like jaw botox, chin fillers and threadlifts are your best bet.

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