Our recently published mega-article on mewing has been getting significant traction on Reddit, internet forums, and elsewhere. Although all the information to get started is there, we recognized there was still some confusion.
We decided to put together this guide for every possible commonly asked question about mewing we could come up with. I think we covered everything, but this article will be periodically updated as more concerns come up.
Table of Contents
What is mewing?
Mewing is a proper tongue posture technique. To do mewing correctly, the entire tongue must be pressing up against the roof of your mouth until it becomes an unconscious resting position.
The mewing definition: Tongue on the roof of your mouth, lips closed, teeth gently touching.
Why should I start mewing?
There are many reasons to start and just as many benefits.
- If you’re now realizing that you’ve been resting your tongue on the floor of your mouth unconsciously and want proper tongue posture.
- You’re mainly a mouth-breather.
- You have an ill-defined jawline and want to improve your face.
- If you have difficulty swallowing or obstruction in your breathing.
- If you have sleep apnea.
- You have a narrow palate and teeth crowding.
- If you have a mild underbite.
- If you want to appear more confident and correct your overall posture.
Is mewing an exercise?
Mewing is not an exercise. Instead, it is a form of self-done physical therapy to correct improper tongue posture. Although mewing will work out your tongue, the goal is to make your resting tongue position be on the roof of your mouth.
There are no mewing exercises. There is just one way to do mewing correctly.
What is orthotropics?
Orthotropics is a branch of orthodontic medicine which believes that dentistry should treat not only teeth but also the face. Represented by the International Association of Facial Growth Guidance (IAFGG), orthotropics has been rapidly growing as a specialty in the past few years. They have been responsible for recently popularizing proper tongue posture.
Rather than only relying on dental appliances, orthotropics also uses physical therapy and behavior modification to correct one’s appearance over time.
An orthotropic specialist would argue, for example, that a child’s recessed chin would best be treated by correcting oral posture and improper swallowing in conjunction with a dental appliance.
Who is Dr. Mike Mew?
Dr. Mike Mew is one of the leading orthotropic specialists in the world. He was the one which popularized the proper tongue posture today known as “mewing.”
Dr. Mike Mew qualified in 1993 as a dentist at the Royal London Hospital. After doing general practice, he entered the orthodontic program at Aarhus University in Denmark in 2004. He has since been in private practice, particularly interested in the aetiology of mallocution (the misalignment of the teeth in relation to the dental arches).
He has become one of the most prominent representatives of orthotropics. Many of Dr. Mike Mew’s videos on Youtube have become common references for people who are interested in orthotropics.
How to do mewing? What is correct tongue posture?
The correct mewing tongue position is your entire tongue on the roof of your mouth. Your tongue should fit snugly on the roof of your mouth with the lower-third of your tongue near your molars.
Breathe through your nose.
Are there clinical studies on mewing? Where is the proof?
There are a few, but sadly the evidence for mewing still needs to be further studied clinically.
The International Association for Face Growth Guidance gives many case examples of orthotropic treatment working on children. For adults, a 2014 study published in the Korean Journal of Orthodontics documented the benefits of proper oral posture on recessed facial development. At age 19, the patient was able to correct the asymmetries and recessed chin in just 2 years.
Another study published at Aga Khan University Hospital concluded that “tongue posture has a significant effect on the sagittal jaw relationship with dental arch widths.”
And yet another study published in the European Journal of Orthodontics determined that those with smaller palates generally have poor tongue posture (tongues resting on the floor of their mouths). The study established a relationship with recessed development, small palates, and improper tongue positioning.
Other experts, like Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich, have come to similar conclusions. A recent book by the professor titled Jaws: The Story of Hidden Epidemic provides readers with ample evidence on the connection between improper tongue posture and recessed physical development.
How do I do mewing and swallow / chew?
Learning to chew and swallow properly while mewing is crucial to doing it correctly. When swallowing, your tongue should stay on the roof of your mouth. With every swallow, you should feel your tongue apply force to your palate. This means you are swallowing correctly.
When chewing, use your molars to chew (not your cheeks). Swallow as described above. You obviously can’t mew while eating. Proper tongue position is for swallowing not for eating, but make sure you’re chewing food completely before swallowing with your tongue.
Can mewing better my jaw?
Yes, it can. Although mewing will not extend your lower jaw by much, your palate will expand. You will see your entire profile move forwards and be more symmetrical over time.
The benefits are most apparent in children and teenagers. Adults will see slight improvements, however.
How do I breathe while mewing?
You have to breathe through your nose. If you are a mouth-breather, mewing will force you to do this. It’s a good habit to get into.
When can I expect results?
Mewing should produce some noticeable results in just a few months. However, many have commented that they saw immediate results and then this was made more consistent over time. After one year, you will see definitive results which will stick with you for life (assuming you maintain the proper tongue posture).
Does mewing even work? Where can I find before and after photos?
We include some before and after photos in our own guide.
However, the “Case Discussions” subforum on the-great-work.org is an excellent board where case studies are commonly posted. Another place to find before and after photos is on the subreddit r/orthotropics.
Where can I discuss mewing on Reddit?
The main sub to discuss mewing on Reddit is r/orthotropics. With over 5,000 subscribers, it is one of the largest orthotropic discussion communities online.
We would also suggest you visit the main forum on the-great-work.org which is full of interesting conversations on orthotropics more generally.
What age should you start?
The younger you start mewing, the better. Ideally, proper tongue posture should be taught when you are still a child. However, we realize this is generally not possible. If you are a teenager or even an adult, proper tongue posture can nonetheless produce numerous benefits for you.
Can I do mewing while asleep?
Do not try to stress over mewing while sleeping initially. You won’t be able to control that. Proper tongue posture has to become unconscious until you can do it while sleeping. Once you start waking up with your tongue on the roof of your mouth, you will then know that mewing has become like second-nature to you.
What is “hard mewing” and “soft mewing”?
Generally, orthotropic practitioners would advise patients to do “soft mewing” which is not about applying force to the palate as it is about correct tongue posture.
“Hard mewing” is about consciously applying force to the roof of your mouth. All beginners should start with soft mewing because hard mewing can be painful initially and even be unnecessary.
Health Problems & Concerns
It hurts when I try.
Although mewing may be uncomfortable at first because you’re still getting used to it, it shouldn’t hurt. If proper tongue posture is hurting your palate or tongue, stop applying so much force. Ease into it until it becomes less and less uncomfortable.
If you’re hurting, you’re doing something wrong. Overexerting yourself will not produce better or faster results, mind you.
Will mewing cure sleep apnea?
It’s not guaranteed mewing will cure sleep apnea by any means, but proper tongue posture has been linked to reduced cases of sleep apnea. Once it becomes like muscle memory, it will help you sleep more soundly at night.
Can mewing fix an overbite?
No, mewing cannot correct your overbite. The technique does not push the mandible (lower jawline) forward by much. You are better off correcting an overbite with traditional dental appliances.
Can mewing fix an underbite?
Because mewing expands your palate, it will also inevitably move your maxilla (upper jaw) forward. This means that yes, proper tongue posture over time can correct your underbite.
Can you do mewing with braces?
Mewing is almost impossible to do properly with braces because of the metal wiring. With some flexible braces it may be possible, but having to exert enough force on your palate and your braces is expecting too much. You simply will not get results this way. Wait until your braces come off to begin mewing properly.
Proper tongue posture is possible with retainers, however. For example, a retainer worn only at night can compliment proper mewing during the day if you are correcting crooked teeth.
My tongue is too big to fit on the roof of my mouth.
This likely means your palate is too small. Small palates are caused by improper tongue posture and mouth-breathing. The good news, although improper tongue posture caused your small palate, mewing will expand it over time to a normal width.
I can’t move my tongue upward.
You are likely suffering from tongue tie which means your frenulum is too thick causing immobility. This medical condition must be addressed surgically.
Don’t confuse tongue tie with discomfort, however. Only if you physically cannot move your tongue to the roof of your mouth you do have tongue tie.
My tongue gets too tired.
This is to be expected when you start mewing. Just keep at it and your tongue will get stronger over time. It’s a muscle like any other.
My teeth are grinding while mewing.
Teeth grinding while mewing is due to an imbalance between your muscles of mastication and your tongue. Teeth grinding is caused by your tongue being too weak to keep the jaw apart leading to teeth grinding. This will diminish over time as your tongue gets stronger.
My teeth are too far apart.
If you have trouble keeping your teeth together, this is the opposite problem of teeth grinding. Your tongue is stronger than your muscles of mastication causing your teeth to rest apart. You need to further workout your jaw muscles by either eating more solid foods or chewing mastic gum.
Mewing is making my appearance worse.
Mewing must be done properly in other to produce its intended effects. As such, it should not make your appearance worse unless you have an already-existing overbite. It also shouldn’t be painful.
If you feel your appearance is getting worse, it may be time to just go to a dental specialist and ask. Get some x-rays done so you can conclusively get to the root of the issue.
Have other questions we missed? Let us know in the comments and we’ll include them to this list.