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What a Doctor Wants You to Know About Mewing

Mar 11, 2024

5 min read

2024 marks a peak in internet searches for mewing, suggesting heightened curiosity about its potential and risks. In this blog, we unmask the truth about mewing and what doctors think.

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A man with a defined jawline
Aasia Merchant, Fluent Health

AASIA

MERCHANT

In the age of social media and DIY beauty hacks, trends come and go at lightning speed, often fuelled by before-and-after photos and viral success stories. One such trend that has captured the attention of enthusiasts worldwide is "mewing", which shows individuals boasting remarkable transformations in facial aesthetics and jawline definition. Web searches for mewing have hit a record high in 2024, revealing the growing interest in this controversial trend.

But does it work, and what does a doctor have to say about mewing? Let’s find out.

What is Mewing?

via GIPHY

Mewing is a facial reconstruction technique wherein you place your tongue against the roof of your mouth while keeping the lips closed and setting the teeth together. Mewing got its name from Dr. John Mew, the British orthodontist who invented the technique and coined the term “orthotropics.”

While the General Dental Council recently took away Dr John Mew’s dental license (in 2022), his son, Dr Mike Mew, continues to practice and promote orthotropics. 

Dr Mike Mew has defined Mewing in Dr Mike Mew's Ultimate Mewing Guide as: “A postural technique that involves placing the tongue on the roof of the mouth to gain facial and health improvements. The aim is to align the teeth, accentuate your cheekbones, sharpen your jawline and even straighten your nose naturally, all without invasive surgeries or expensive orthodontics. This may also diminish wrinkles and improve your airways, bringing the maxilla forward and potentially extending your lifespan by enlarging your airways and reducing snoring and sleep apnea.”

Dr Mike Mew explains the process of mewing as, “I’m gonna swallow my tongue, swallow several times so I create a vacuum and my tongue is glued to the roof of the mouth with the back third properly engaged. Then, you can maintain the vacuum just by holding the lips sealed. And there’s no effort. These things shouldn’t take effort.”  

Hype or hope: What do doctors say about mewing?

Could mewing sculpt your jawline into a chiselled masterpiece? There’s no scientific evidence.

via GIPHY

Almost all claims for the benefits of mewing largely come from unregulated social media platforms. Mewing hasn’t been studied scientifically, with some articles warning of the dangers of becoming obsessed with it. It's also worth mentioning that many people who practice mewing are teenagers, whose facial features and jawlines often change naturally during the course of puberty.

Dr Dhananjay Hemmady, cosmetic dentist and implantologist, states, “Mewing is generally safe, but age and health can influence its impact. For instance, it may not be advisable for young children or people with medical conditions affecting the jaw, neck, and respiratory conditions.” 

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“Seeking professional advice is essential, as at-home practices might not offer the comprehensive and tailored approach that clinics can provide. The allure of shortcuts can sometimes overshadow the long-term benefits of proper, professional care.”

Dr Dhananjay Hemmady, cosmetic dentist and implantologist

Dr Madhuri Agarwal, an aesthetic dermatologist, founder & medical director at  Yavana Aesthetics Clinic, says, “There is no scientific evidence to back the claims of this practice. Mewing can work temporarily, say when you want to pose for a photograph. The jaw looks more shapely for a short period due to the position. However, it is not feasible for an individual to do this continuously throughout the day. At best, it gives the temporary effect of the jawline appearing defined till one holds the tongue against the roof. However, when you release it, the effect disappears.” 

Is Mewing safe?

Your tongue plays a vital role in keeping your teeth straight and your speech clear. Forcing it to stay in unnatural positions constantly over a period of time may have negative consequences.

Dr Agarwal says, “Mewing can cause more harm than good. I do not recommend doing mewing for the so-called perceived benefits.” She further states, “There are side effects associated with mewing. Firstly, it is not humanly possible to hold the tongue against the roof of the mouth the entire time. In mewing, the teeth are in contact all the time, which can lead to chipping or damage to the enamel. The constant holding of the tongue against the roof of the mouth can also lead to pain in neck and mouth areas.”

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“There is no scientific evidence to back the claims of this practice. Mewing can work temporarily, say when you want to pose for a photograph.”

Dr Madhuri Agarwal,  an Aesthetic Dermatologist, Founder & Medical Director at  Yavana Aesthetics Clinic

Protect yourself from fad fatigue

Dr Hemmady says, “I've encountered patients intrigued by mewing and other trends. It's crucial to discuss these interests openly, guiding them with accurate information and potential realistic outcomes. Trends like mewing can indeed seem enticing. While the concept is intriguing, it's important to approach these practices with a realistic perspective. Seeking professional advice is essential, as at-home practices might not offer the comprehensive and tailored approach that clinics can provide. The allure of shortcuts can sometimes overshadow the long-term benefits of proper, professional care.”

Dr Agarwal recommends, “My advice is not to get swayed easily by beauty fads. Look at the fads realistically and try to understand the science and feasibility of it. Look at the qualifications of the individual talking or endorsing the fads, check for scientific research validating these claims, and consult a board-certified dermatologist to verify the authenticity of the fads. Also, it is essential to check whether these trends would work for your skin or body and if there are any reported side effects of these fads.”

Beyond the hype

While it's natural to be tempted by the idea of sculpting your face from the comfort of your couch, your face is more than just an aesthetic canvas. It's a complex structure influenced by genetics, health, and lifestyle. Succumbing to the pressure of beauty trends can compromise your health and self-worth.

Dr Hemmady puts it perfectly, “Beauty fads can be tempting, but one must strike a balance between curiosity and caution. Consult with a medical professional before diving into any trend. Health is unique to each individual, and personalised guidance ensures safe and informed choices.”


Aasia Merchant, Fluent Health

Aasia Merchant is a content creator with works featured in Netflix, Insider, Vice India, and more. She specialises in making out-of-box ideas come to life and always puts the audience’s perspective forward in everything she does.


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