If you’re unhappy with crooked teeth and/or the shape of your profile, you might have looked into ways to straighten your teeth and reshape your profile. If so, you have probably come across the concept of “mewing.” 

Although many people online promote this technique, it is unproven, and potentially dangerous to your oral health and damaging to your bite.

Close Up of Straight white teeth

What Is Mewing?

Mewing (also called “orthotropics”) is a technique for attempting to utilize your facial muscles to reshape your facial structure. The goal is to attempt to replicate the interaction between muscles, bones, and teeth that occur during normal development to create a more attractive configuration of elements. 

During development, the forces of chewing put all the components of your face into operation. The complex interactions stimulate development, with the tongue pushing outward to develop the dental arch, and the cheeks pulling inward to limit the development. Even when you’re not chewing, these systems interact with one another, which should allow for adequate jaw development. 

However, in recent years, partly related to our diet becoming more processed and partly in response to environmental changes that affect breathing, people’s normal tongue positions have changed, and, as a result, so has their facial development. Mewing attempts to correct this by using exercises and teaching new habits to encourage more jaw development. 

This technique has been around for a long time, although it’s recently spiked in popularity. This technique is closely related to a more formal approach called by a variety of names, mostly variations of “orofacial myofunctional therapy.”

Does Mewing Work?

There is little to no scientific evidence that mewing actually produces positive results. Although Dr. John Mew and his son Dr. Michael Mew have advocated the technique for decades, there does not seem to be any evidence that the technique is effective. Neither Dr. Mew has conducted a randomized clinical trial to demonstrate the effectiveness of the technique. 

Instead, the only evidence we have to rely on are anecdotal reports, most often from social media. We have to consider this evidence unreliable because it is collected under uncontrolled conditions. Images may be modified. We don’t know if other techniques were also used, and whether these results are unusual or typical. 

We also know that mewing has the potential to cause as many problems as it solves. It can cause crooked teeth rather than correcting them, and it can lead to bite problems like TMJ. Without clinical trials, we don’t know how common these complications are, and whether the results are more positive or negative. Until the advocates of this technique have enough confidence in the technique to support scientific trials, we recommend against trying it. 

Improving Bite Function and Appearance in Hilton Head

If you are unhappy with the function and appearance of your teeth, we can help. We offer proven techniques to improve your appearance while protecting the health of your teeth and bite. This includes orthodontic approaches like Invisalign.

To learn more, please call (843) 706-2999 today for an appointment with a Hilton Head neuromuscular dentist at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.