Mewing is the weird and wonderful practice of positioning your tongue against the roof of your mouth, and it’s been taking the internet by storm lately. In this guide, I want to introduce you to the world of mewing and clear up some of the most common conceptions.
As a quick disclaimer, mewing is still a relatively new concept. This means that there’s limited evidence on whether it really works, and only a few real progress photos. Throughout this guide, I’ll do my best to walk you through all the theory of mewing, as put forward by pioneer Dr. Mike Mew, and evaluate his claims as I go.
What Is Mewing?
Mewing is an oral posture technique invented by the British orthodontist Dr. Mike Mew. Simply put, mewing is training your mind to rest your tongue against the roof of your mouth. By doing so, it’s believed that you can create a more attractive facial appearance. Aside from chewing gum and facial exercisers, there aren’t many ways to change your facial appearance. That’s why mewing is so popular.
To produce lasting results, the mewing tongue position has to be held for as much of the day as possible. After time, the tongue muscles strengthen and maintain the correct position on their own, around the clock.
According to Dr. Mike Mew, the mewing tongue position is the correct resting position for the tongue. Instead, though, many individuals allow their tongue to sit loose on the bottom of the mouth — the result of eating so many soft, industrial foods — which he believes is a major cause for poor facial development, including crooked teeth.
How Does Mewing Work?
If you’re not yet convinced, I completely understand. How on earth could changing your tongue position improve your facial appearance?
According to Dr. Mew, mewing applies a gentle but consistent force to the roof of your mouth, also called the palate. This supposedly pushes against the central facial bone — the maxilla — causing it to move up and forwards. That has a long list of benefits, which we’ll discuss just now.
The Benefits of Mewing
As it turns out, mewing has both cosmetic and health benefits. The cosmetic benefits of mewing include a more defined jawline, more prominent cheekbones, and an overall “more attractive” facial appearance. The health benefits of mewing are mostly related to improved breathing habits.
1. Improved Facial Appearance
Let’s start with the cosmetic benefits. As I explained above, mewing ultimately pushes the maxilla up and forwards. If you look at my compilation of mewing before and after photos, you’ll see that this simply makes the face look better. It’s hard to explain why.
2. Improved Jawline and Cheekbones
Mewing allows you to improve your jawline and cheekbone appearance in several different ways. First of all, mewing pushes your maxilla forward, pulling the cheekbones with it. This makes your cheekbones more prominent.
Secondly, mewing encourages you to swallow correctly, which allows the buccinator muscle (used by infants for sucking) around the cheeks to break down. This creates a more defined facial appearance by revealing the cheek and jaw bones.
3. Support for the Eyes
It’s also said that by pushing the maxilla up, you give your eyes a better platform on which to rest. Some believe that this results in a less baggy or sullen look around the eyes.
4. Expansion of the Palate
The most obvious benefit of all: mewing makes your palate larger. While this isn’t an immediately noticeable benefit, it’s believed that a larger palate reduces the likelihood of developing crooked teeth.
Onto some of the health benefits of mewing:
5. Improved Swallowing
With proper tongue posture, you can use your tongue to swallow correctly instead of relying on your face muscles. This will allow for complete swallowing as opposed to partial swallowing which can also reduce acid reflux.
6. Lessened Sleep Apnea
With mewing becoming like muscle memory, you may feel your airways open up as your tongue relaxes in its proper position. You will begin to breathe through your nose more which lessens congestion and sleep apnea.
7. More Energy
Some individuals have commented that they experienced having more energy when they started. This is likely a side effect of the improved breathing habits which are often associated with mewing.
8. Improved Posture
Posture actually has a lot to do with your overall health. In fact, your body’s orientation is closely related to the processes of your body. It also has many psychosomatic benefits. So, as you might expect, an improved oral posture will just make you feel better, which is a health benefit in and of itself.
9. Better Breathing
Many people rely on breathing primarily through their mouths which causes sagging jowls and a whole host of other health complications. Breathing through your nose is best and mewing will teach you to do this properly.
I’ve also heard claims that mewing can fix an overbite. However, there’s very limited evidence for that claim and little reason to think it would. I discuss this topic in-depth in this article.
Does Mewing Work?
Because of its simplicity, you might be wondering: does mewing even work? I mean, can you really correct entire facial development — and reap a whole host of other mewing benefits — with just a simple tongue positioning method?
Although few studies have been conducted on the practice mewing (because the it’s still so new), there are some first-hand accounts and clinical overviews online. All of these indicate that yes, mewing works.
If you’d like to learn more about the evidence support mewing, I highly recommend you read my post Does Mewing Work? (Real Studies)
How Long Does Mewing Take?
Aside from being painful, traditional orthodontic treatment is known for being slow. Most patients have to wear their braces or retainer for many years. So you’re probably wondering: how long does mewing take?
Some internet users have seen mewing progress in as little as two weeks, but it often takes a lot longer. Most adults can expect to see small changes within several months, while larger changes may take multiple years. It’s significantly faster in children.
What Age Is Best for Mewing?
So, let’s say the practice seems simple enough — when should you start mewing?
As we explain in depth in our post Does Mewing Work after Puberty?, the younger you are, the more effective mewing is. This is because you are still growing and your bones and facial muscles are as malleable as they’ll ever be. It’s the reason why orthodontists generally make patients wear braces while they’re still children.
Studies have shown that correcting one’s oral posture while still in preschool, for example, will rapidly produce changes in overbites, speech impairments, and facial asymmetry.
However, if you’re reading this, you’re most definitely not in preschool and you might be thinking it’s far too late for you. And you’re probably wrong. In fact, all of the seven impressive transformations in our mewing before and after post were well into adulthood!
Mewing as a Teenager
If you’re reading this and are still a teenager, congratulations. You have discovered mewing earlier than most. This means you can use the mewing oral posture technique to the fullest benefit.
The teenage years are characterized by significant developmental changes, which is why they’re probably still a great age to start mewing. By mewing as a teenager, you can correct your tongue posture and appearance as your body develops.
If you start mewing during your teenage years, it’s believed that you will reap most of the benefits and likely have proper tongue posture for life.
However, if you’re an adult, Dr. Mike Mew still believes you can better your appearance and correct your facial orientation with mewing.
Mewing as an Adult
Although our physical development slows down as we get older and practically ends as we reach our mid-20s, the face is much more malleable than we give it credit for.
In fact, mewing as an adult will still produce demonstrable benefits to your appearance in just a few months. This is because it will push your entire face forward, thereby accentuating your jawline. You will feel your swallowing, poise, and breathing improve as well.
It’s also true that mewing will expand your palate. If you find that the roof of your mouth is maldeveloped, you will definitely benefit from proper oral posture. By applying pressure with your tongue, your palate will naturally expand as the orientation of your whole face changes.
Many have also said that mewing significantly corrected their overall physical posture. This is because tongue position is directly linked to the spatial orientation of your body. You will feel more upright as you adopt this correct tongue posture.
Am I Too Old to Start Mewing?
Mewing and proper tongue posture are best done during developmental stages (teenage years and younger) to ensure the health and cosmetic effects are realized.
However, it’s never too late to start mewing, according to Dr. Mike Mew. Even if you start mewing as an adult you will still see demonstrable benefits to your appearance, since the facial bones are much more malleable than we think.
Although proper tongue posture is most effective while young, you might still be able to reap the benefits of mewing even as you get older. In one study conducted in South Korea, for example, the patient began proper tongue posture when he was 19 years old and continued for another 10 years. By dental standards, the results were stunning; what’s more, a cosmetic change in facial symmetry was also evident.
Dr. Mew himself, for example, only started his mewing technique well into his 30s. And look at him now: he certainly doesn’t have a bad jawline or appearance! Mewing in your 20s or 30s could likewise produce real, lasting effects on how you look.
How to Do Mewing
Mewing is all about holding the correct tongue posture. Unfortunately, this is a lot more complicated than it seems. I’ve tried to make it easier for others to get started, though. Here’s how to do mewing the easy way:
1. Make an “N” sound with your mouth
One of the biggest challenges people face with mewing is finding the right tongue position. Here’s an easy hack for doing so: make the sound of the letter “N” and hold it for a few seconds.
You should find that your tongue naturally pushes up against the roof of your mouth while you do this.
2. Practice that tongue position
Practice making the “N” sound for a few minutes. With any luck, you’ll get used to moving your tongue around your mouth. Now, see if you can make that same tongue position without actually making the “N” sound.
Don’t worry if you can’t get this right away. It took me a few days of regular practice to be able to control my tongue. Once you get it, you’ll be surprised at just how easy it is.
3. Get the back of your tongue up
It’s possible to make the “N” sound using just the tip of your tongue. With mewing, however, we want to have the entirety of our tongue held against the palate — including the back of the tongue.
So the next step is to get the back of your tongue up against the palate. If you’re like me, you might find this pretty difficult. Thankfully, I have another trick that can help: swallowing!
That’s right. Find the tongue position you practiced earlier and try swallowing deeply a few times. You should feel the back of your tongue push up against the palate as you do so.
Like before, continue practicing this technique and you should eventually be able to raise the back of your tongue against the palate without having to constantly swallow.
At this point, you should be able to raise your entire tongue against the palate at will. If you’re doing it correctly, you should feel a vacuum-like sensation between your tongue and palate. That’s why Dr. Mike Mew calls this the “suction hold.”
4. Repeat this until it becomes second nature
A big part of mewing is holding this tongue position throughout the day. At first, this is going to be really difficult. If you practice the techniques above, you should be able to get comfortable finding the correct tongue position, but how do you remember to actually hold that tongue position?
My approach was to adopt correct tongue posture whenever I remembered about it. With time, I found myself holding the mewing tongue position more and more without even thinking about it.
There are other ways to remember about mewing while you’re starting out. Dr. Mike Mew had a dentistry colleague place an intrusive filling on one of his back teeth, which reminded him to hold the correct tongue posture every time he closed his mouth.
A more practical approach for most people is to set daily or hourly smartphone reminders. If my approach of mewing-whenever-you-remember doesn’t work for you, this is what I’d suggest.
Do keep in mind that mewing will inevitably also require you to correct your overall posture if you haven’t already. An erect back, shoulders elevated (not rolled backward), and upright posture overall will likely compliment the mewing technique.
Mewing Tips and Tricks
Here are a few tips and tricks you might want to bear in mind when you start mewing:
- When doing mewing correctly, you might find that you can’t breathe through your mouth. This is because mewing will force you to breathe through your nose. Anyway, breathing through your nose is better for you, so this is a hidden benefit you will soon grow to appreciate.
- You may find your tongue getting sore initially, but that’s OK. You can expect some soreness because you’re ‘working out’ your tongue. It’s like working out any other muscle: you get sore initially. With that said, read our article on common mewing problems if you’re having serious trouble.
- Applying the full force of your tongue on your palate is called hard mewing and I would suggesting staying away from that for beginners. Instead, stretch your entire tongue on the roof of your mouth and apply light force. You will feel the force more strongly while swallowing, which brings us to our next section.
Swallowing Properly While Mewing
Keeping your tongue posture correct throughout the day is one aspect of mewing, but the other aspect is eating and swallowing while mewing. This is where people usually get confused.
When it comes to swallowing while mewing, this is the correct way to do it as explained by Dr. Mike Mew in his many videos.
- Press the tongue firmly against your palate even while swallowing.
- Your face expression should remain the same while swallowing.
- You will feel your thyroid rise.
Use this same technique while swallowing liquids. You don’t want to chug liquids. Instead, with your tongue on your palate, swallow liquids at a steady pace.
To practice proper swallowing with mewing, try these steps.
1. Take a small sip of water and hold it in your mouth.
2. Lean forwards with your mouth directly pointing to the floor.
3. Make a cheesy smile.
Aha! You may think you will spill the water, but you will actually find that your tongue raises to your palate to prevent the water from choking you. In doing this technique, you have created the perfect seal for your palate and tongue.
4. Swallow the water without bringing the lips together.
Repeat this process a few more times and be conscious of your tongue’s position.
Do you see how it naturally forms a seal? The mid-back of your tongue will push firmly against your palate.
Now try to replicate this same swallowing technique standing up normally. Can you do it? Congrats, you now know how to have proper tongue posture and swallow properly with it.
Dr. Mike Mew has many videos on YouTube where he explains proper swallowing with mewing. They’re definitely worth a watch.
Without proper swallowing, you are only doing part of mewing correctly. If you can’t maintain proper tongue posture while eating and drinking, you are only halfway there. So practice, practice, practice.
Chewing Properly While Mewing
Chewing properly when mewing is a little different than swallowing.
First of all, don’t use your cheeks anymore to move food around like a chipmunk. Instead, chew food until it is completely broken down. This should go without saying. Instead, chew food hard and properly.
Some have recommended chewing gum to compliment mewing. This can start as simply chewing for an hour a day to strengthen your jawline muscles. My recommendation would be either mastic gum or Falim gum; both are very durable and can be chewed for as long as you’d like.
This chewing gum is the cream of the crop when it comes to building your jaw. Sugar free and extra strong.
- Sugar free
- Multiple flavors
Mewing While Sleeping
As I mentioned earlier, the mewing tongue position should be held for as much of the day as possible. This includes while sleeping! In addition to the general benefits of mewing, mewing while sleeping is said to reduce snoring and sleep apnea.
Initially, you will find it near impossible to mew while sleeping. This is simply because your body is new to mewing and doesn’t hold the correct tongue position subconsciously, like when you’re asleep.
Another reason you might struggle with mewing while sleeping is mouth breathing. If you typically breathe through your mouth, you’ll be unable to breathe while mewing.
The solution to both of these problems is to continue practicing mewing! Not only will your body grow to subconsciously maintain the correct tongue position, but — according to Dr. Mike Mew — your nasal airways will open up, allowing you to better breathe through the nose.
How Do I Know If I’m Mewing Right?
Although the explanation for mewing seems pretty straightforward, it can be surprisingly difficult to get just right. Based on the surveys of individuals who practice mewing, there seem to be many misconceptions.
It is critical that the posterior third of your tongue (yes, the very back of it) is firmly pressed against the back palate of your mouth. Your tongue should fit snugly between your back molars in a ∩ shape.
Doing this properly should be tiring because you are effectively doing tongue contortion. It’s not easy to maintain and will require conscious effort. It may even feel like your tongue will fall out of this position any second, but don’t worry: it will strengthen over time.
You might even feel that your palate is too small to properly do mewing. This is another misconception because, as you keep mewing, your palate will naturally expand due to the pressure applied by your tongue. So keep at it, even if it is tiring at first. Eventually it will become subconscious.
If you do mewing correctly, you might see impressive results within as little as a month.
Visual Guide to Mewing
If you want to be specific about mewing, you’re going to need to know what muscles you are employing. Let’s take a tour of the mouth.
First, feel the area directly between your front teeth. This is what we’re calling the “tip.” This is where your the tip of your tongue should be while mewing.
Your tongue will rest from the tip down the mid-palate ridge and should end somewhere around the soft palate. Your tongue should fit snugly in your mid-palate ridge. Make sure to fit your entire tongue on the roof of your mouth.
Mewing in the 21st Century
Although mewing on the internet is relatively new, the importance of proper tongue posture is not. For centuries, dentists and other doctors have connected the tongue with facial symmetry and overall appearance.
However, why is mewing necessary today? What changed? The reality is that most of the prehistoric record shows that pre-modern man had better teeth.This is because not only were they chewing more, but their lives were far less sedentary.
Think about it: today, we spend most of our time sitting down and inside. We are also raised to eat soft foods, especially when we’re babies. This may have degenerated our physical appearance and created a crisis of sleep apnea and other health conditions.
Mewing is thus believed to correct a ‘bad habit’ that many of us developed on account of the modern lifestyle. Although it’s best to start mewing early in childhood to fix this, even mewing in adults has produced some noteworthy transformations.
The Importance of Posture
Ask yourself: can you really improve your tongue posture without having good overall posture? I didn’t think so.
Therefore, mewing is more than just tongue posture: you need to better your entire body. It should make your more conscious of your appearance and how you carry yourself. And this begins with your posture.
There are many videos on the topic of proper, good posture. You need to keep your back erect while sitting especially, since we all have a tendency to lean over our computers. An upright posture while sitting and walking will work hand-in-hand with proper mewing.
However, don’t forget about sleep posture too which is just as important. None of that sleeping like a fetus stuff: Make sure you’re sleeping on your back. This will go a long way towards maintaining proper tongue posture even while sleeping.
Common Mewing Problems
You may run into some problems if this is your first time mewing. In this section I’ll go over some of the most common mewing problems and how to fix them.
My Tongue Gets Tired
One of the most common issues people experience with mewing is the tongue getting tired. This is OK! Just like any other muscle, you tongue needs to be worked. It was probably resting on the floor of your mouth before which means it is significantly weaker than normal. However, don’t worry: over time, mewing will be less tiresome and feel more natural.
Help! My Palate Is Too Small
You may find that there is not enough space for your tongue on your palate. This may be the result of incorrect development. It likely indicates a lack of saggital (forward) and transverse (side to side) growth of the maxilla.
Luckily, our bones are much more flexible than we usually give them credit for. As such, it’s believed that mewing can expand the palate over time. You may find that your tongue will eventually fit in your palate more snugly if you keep mewing.
The best solution to having a small palate is to continue to fix your tongue posture so that the bones and muscles of your face adapt over time. Just make sure you apply your tongue consistently across your entire palate. You don’t want to apply pounds of force from your tongue only on your mid-palate ridge. Mewing needs to cover the entire roof of your mouth.
I Can’t Keep My Teeth Together
The reason your teeth cannot stay together properly while mewing is because one set of muscles in your faw is stronger than the other side. This indicates that there is an imbalance between your mastication muscles and your tongue. To fix this, simply continue practicing mewing.
As Dr. Mew has mentioned many times, your jawline muscles and tongue are opposing forces. They need to be in balance to work properly.
My Teeth Are Grinding
Some people while mewing experience an altogether different problem: teeth grinding. This means your tongue is far too weak to keep the jaws apart which causes this problem.
However, by mewing you will find that your tongue will quickly get stronger. Therefore, this problem will luckily be corrected pretty fast once you start mewing.
I Can’t Even Get My Tongue on My Palate
If you can’t bring your tongue up to your palate while mewing, it may mean a couple of things. Most likely, your tongue is not accustomed to the mewing position: it’s weak and inflexible. This can be resolved with time and practice.
It may also be caused by a condition known as “tongue tie.” Tongue tie means that the tongue is too connected to the floor of your mouth thereby restricting flexibility.
Sadly, tongue tie requires surgery to correct. However, don’t assume that just because you can’t move your tongue up you have tongue tie. Try mewing for a week and if you just can’t, ask your dentist if you have tongue tie.
In short, mewing is easy to explain but hard to do consistently. What was once a natural tongue position has become a tiring, conscious act we need to retrain ourselves to do. Yet, in time, your mind will adopt mewing as muscle memory. And that’s when you might see the full benefit of mewing in your own life!
What are your experiences with mewing? Have you seen significant benefits in your own life? Is there anything else you would like to see added to this guide? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below!