Mewing: What is Mewing? And Does it Work?

Mewing has become something of an internet sensation over the past few years - gaining traction on sites like YouTube and Reddit where both its practitioners and sceptics collide to contest hotly debated topics like; does mewing work? As it is a relatively new and novel concept that challenges traditional dentistry's status quo, mewing has been met with its fair share of criticism. Many are sceptical as to how things like chewing and tongue positioning can so dramatically change the shape of the face.

What is mewing?

Mewing is the brainchild of London orthodontist Dr Mike Mew (hence the name). Mike's father, Dr John Mew, is renowned for creating orthotropics, which is essentially a holistic approach to orthodontics. To understand what mewing is, one must first understand orthotropics and how it is governed by a radically different set of beliefs to conventional orthodontics. The differences between the two are best understood through two simple questions; what causes crooked teeth, and do straight teeth create a good looking face?

Conventional orthodontics believes that crowded teeth and poor facial development are simply the faults of genetics. Orthotropics, however, believes that crowded teeth and poor facial form are caused by poor facial posture, improper breathing and poor diet. While conventional orthodontics believes that straight teeth create a good looking face, orthotropics believes that a good looking face will create straight teeth. This philosophical difference is important to understand as it manifests in two very different treatment styles.

Conventional orthodontics uses fixed appliances like braces to pull the teeth into alignment. Orthotropics uses moveable appliances to promote correct tongue position. The rationale is that if the tongue sits on the mouth's roof, it will force the maxilla (top jaw) to widen - subsequently creating room for the tooth, encouraging the jaws to strengthen and grow forward, and ultimately create a better looking face.

The Differences Between Orthotropics and Orthodontics

On face value, orthodontics and orthotropics are very similar. They both seek to treat the same thing; however, they go about doing so in a very different way...

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Orthotropics: A Better Way to Treat Your Child’s Crowded Teeth.

Orthotropics vs orthodontics is essentially a debate as to what causes malocclusion or poor facial development. Orthodontics blames genetics, while orthotropics blames poor posture...

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So, what is mewing? Dr Mike Mew proposed mewing as a way for people to improve facial posture (specifically the definition of the jawline) themselves without any orthodontic or orthotropic intervention. Mewing is essentially the practice of maintaining proper positioning of the tongue and strengthening the jaw muscles (through chewing exercises).

Mewing Technique

To improve facial posture and create a better looking face, Dr Mike Mew has developed several techniques underpinned by orthptropics. While each mewing technique may focus on something different, they all attempt to achieve the same thing; correcting facial posture and subsequently improving the facial form. You can see some mewing techniques in the video below where Dr Mike Mew explains how the position of the tongue, swallowing patterns and posture help shape the face.

Does Mewing Work?

There is no straightforward answer to the question; does mewing work. It depends mainly on the practitioner's age, objectives and expectations. Most people who practice mewing are in their teenage years or adulthood - having discovered it on the internet - and are practising mewing with the intent to enhance their facial aesthetics - especially the jawline.

Age is a significant factor when it comes to the effectiveness of mewing. Generally speaking, the older one is, the less effective mewing is likely to be. This is due to the simple fact that the more developed the body is, the harder it is harder to create change. This is important to note, as it is unlikely that mewing will create massive change for many of its practitioners. This is not to say that it will not be effective (because some can certainly make improvements). Still, the notion that it will radically improve your facial features if you are well into adulthood is perhaps a tad whimsical. In the video above, Dr Mike Mew says that for those over 25, mewing will be less effective.

In orthotropics, we encourage parents to have their children treated at a young age for this very reason. It is much easier to correct facial posture and create lifelong results in young children than adolescents and adults. This is actually one of the key differences between orthotropics and orthodontics; that the treatment age in orthotropics is much younger.

Our Opinion on Orthotropics and Mewing

At Eric Davis Dental, we practice orthotropic treatment. We believe it delivers superior results to conventional orthodontics. Dr Daniel Davis was trained under Dr John Mew in London and is a registered member of the International Association of Facial Growth Guidance (IAFGG), and has successfully treated many patients with orthotropics.

While we are advocates for orthotropic treatment and believe in facial growth guidance principles, we aren't necessarily advocates for the DIY style of mewing that has taken the internet by storm. While some people can expect some benefits from practising mewing in a DIY manner, many peoples expectations are often unrealistic, and many fail to understand how to perform mewing techniques properly.