Admittedly, when you hear the term mewing most people are likely to think of a cat begging for attention rather than a viral dental trend. However, it turns out that thousands of people are watching videos about mewing on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok – you may have even seen these videos yourself as you scroll through your feed.
But what is mewing? Interestingly, mewing isn’t anything new and the term originally appeared in the 1970s, named after orthodontist John Mew. It is also sometimes referred to as orthotropics – a term that encapsulates both tongue and jaw positioning for supposed dental benefit.
It is touted as a way to straighten teeth simply through behaviour, with the process involving people resting their tongue on the roof of their mouths, with their lips touching and their teeth together. This is supposedly meant to result in a more chiselled jawline too.[i]
There have also been claims to suggest that mewing can help with conditions such as sleep apnoea and sinusitis.[ii]
But does this technique actually work?
Unfortunately, much like many other viral trends on these social media platforms, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that mewing makes a difference when it comes to tooth position or that it can have any beneficial effect on those suffering from sleep apnoea or other conditions. The jaw bone is a complex part of our anatomy, and simple tongue placement cannot replace the care and proven efficacy or jaw exercises, orthodontic appliances and other methods that have been proven to straighten teeth.
It’s also worth remembering that the creator of the technique has been stripped of his dental license – a fairly good indicator that mewing has no foundation based on fact.
Of course, there are certain treatment therapies that are similar to mewing, which is probably why there is some confusion as to whether it is a viable choice in the first place. However, these jaw exercises are always part of a larger, comprehensive course of treatment that will also involve surgery, appliances and other methods that are proven to have results.
Perhaps one good piece of news surrounding this trend is that, if you are desperate to follow it, it’s unlikely to cause any long-term harm to your jaw or teeth. Though, saying that, there are possibilities that holding your teeth together all day could result in other injuries that would otherwise not occur.
Ultimately, dental hacks that go viral on any social media platform should always be approached with caution. There are some truly dangerous videos out there, and while mewing doesn’t quite compare to the madness that is people using nail files to even out their teeth or attempting to achieve a whiter smile with a bottle of Domestos, it’s still behaviour that is, if anything, a waste of time that could be better spent.
If you ever have any questions about a video you’ve seen on social media – turn to your dentist for expert advice. We know what’s best for your smiles, so before trying something you’ve seen online, speak to your dentist and we can always verify any information or point you towards trusted, safe options to help you get the smile you desire.
For further information please call EndoCare on 020 7224 0999
[i] Prevention.com. What is Mewing? Experts Explain The Viral trend. Link: https://www.prevention.com/health/a39852728/what-is-mewing/ [Last accessed May 22].
[ii] Web MD. What is Mewing? Link: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/what-is-mewing#:~:text=a%20Dentist%20Visit-,Does%20It%20Work%3F,consider%20these%20jawline%20exercise%20tools. [Last accessed May 22].