Have you heard of “Mewing”? It’s not the adorable sound kittens make, but rather, it’s an oral posture technique that is growing in popularity. Yes, we said oral posture. We bet you didn’t know that was a thing, but where do you keep your tongue when your mouth is relaxed? Where is it when you swallow? There’s actually a correct position.
You see, your cheeks, lips, and tongue all play a role in the development of your facial structure. So, that means things like a receding chin, a poorly developed mid-face, and crooked teeth are going to be present when you don’t have what we call The Big Three, (c’mon you avid readers, say them with us: tongue posture, lip seal, and nasal breathing! Great job.)
If you’ve been following us for awhile then you know that Dr. Powell constantly talks about The Big Three, and mewing operates in the same manner because it focuses on many of the same principles.
What is Mewing?
Mewing is an increasingly popular oral posture technique developed by British orthodontist Dr. Mike Mew. His father, Dr. John Mew, worked in a branch of dentistry called orthotropics, which focuses on addressing crooked teeth by treating the face and not just the teeth. This is done by guiding the growth of the bones in the face to create more space for teeth and gums.
The guidance just mentioned comes from proper tongue placement.
Mewing will help your jawline muscles and tongue synchronize movement for better health and better breathing. You’ll be retraining your brain to alter its current resting face position and tongue posture by resting your entire tongue on the roof of the mouth between your molars.
Basically, you want the tip of the tongue to sit right behind the front teeth, down the mid-palate ridge and the back of the tongue around the soft palate. In other words, you want your whole tongue on the roof of your mouth.
People who habitually rest the tongue on the floor of the mouth are actually destabilizing the upper and lower jaw forces. This doesn’t just result in crooked teeth but also mouth-breathing, developing a longer facial profile and a hunched posture. Mewing is a corrective therapy that gets your tongue posture back to its proper position.
The Mewing Technique
Here’s how to do the Mewing technique:
Make the “N” sound and hold it. Feel that? Now try it without the “N” sound. Don’t worry if this feels funny at first and your tongue muscles get tired (you’re giving it a workout!). The muscles will get stronger over time.
Next, practice raising the back of your tongue against your palate by swallowing. Feel the difference? Keep practicing this technique until it feels normal. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you feel the suction hold, as Dr. Mew calls it. This is a sensation between the palate and tongue that feels like a vacuum pressure. Continue defaulting to this tongue position until you find yourself doing it automatically during your day.
There is evidence that oral posture therapy (resting your whole tongue against the roof of your mouth when it’s closed until it becomes an unconscious habit) redefines the jawline for a more appealing appearance. After only a few weeks, the tongue muscle is usually trained to maintain this posture for most of the day by becoming part of your muscle memory.
Mewing and Myofunctional Therapy
While the online community is who is responsible for dubbing mewing as the title of Dr. Mew’s methods, this type of therapy is actually pretty much identical to myofunctional therapy. Sure, some of the exercises may be different. But orthotropics overlaps with myfunctional therapy (which takes a holistic approach to dentistry) by treating disorders of both the mouth and the face and is represented around the world by the International Association of Facial Growth Guidance (or IAFGG).
Myofunctional therapy uses a series of very specific custom exercises to strengthen and train the tongue to develop the proper position and proper swallowing.
Can Mewing or Myofunctional Therapy Help You?
Oral posture techniques, when used alone, will only truly benefit younger children who are still developing. However, when combined with growth appliances and epigenetic orthodontics adults will see pretty amazing results. The best way to find out if you’re a good candidate for this is, of course, to schedule an evaluation with our highly trained dentist. But here are some things you may be able to notice on your own:
- You constantly rest your tongue on the floor of your mouth
- You have problems swallowing
- Your palate is narrow
- You have crowded/crooked teeth
- You have an underbite
- You breathe through your mouth
- You have no jawline (aka a softly defined jawline)
- You have sleep apnea
- You have poor posture
- You’ve been told you need jaw surgery but would like to avoid it
Custom & Combined Therapy for Adults
You might already know that most facial growth and development is already completed during childhood. However, when you use an oral appliance as an adult, the DNA that is already present can be stimulated to expand the upper arch and move it forward. This forward growth allows your lower jaw to come forward as well.
When you combine it with myofunctional therapy you’re likely to get beautiful, lasting results.
There are a few different oral appliances out there, and we even offer a couple of different ones depending on your individual needs. But we find that the two most popular choices among our patients are:
The DNA Appliance®
The Daytime-Nighttime Appliance® (DNA Appliance) can correct a misaligned bite, improve TMD/TMJ issues and sleep apnea. Worn at night, the appliance gently shifts your teeth, jaw and facial structures into their ideal location sometimes even without needing braces as part of the final phase.
FAGGA (Fixed Anterior Growth Guidance Appliance) is a bone growth appliance that expands your jaw’s top arch by stimulating proper growth. It can successfully open and enlarge breathing airways, move the face forward and make the necessary room for teeth.
Controlled Arch Braces or Epigenetic Orthodontics
After myofunctional therapy and growth guidance have done their jobs, then it’s time to straighten the teeth so they can (and will) stay in their optimum position. Thus, epigenetic orthodontics is typically the last phase in your custom treatment, but what makes this type of braces different is important.
Traditional braces use brackets and wires to pull teeth backward, but controlled arch braces (aka epigenetic orthodontics) are moving teeth forward. This is important because this is what keeps the arch wide (better breathing due to an open airway), a full smile (no dark triangles in between your teeth and cheeks), and more support to the lips and face.
The premise of epigenetic orthodontics works with the idea that our genetics and DNA code determines how we develop and what we will look like.
When you are an adult the best course of action is a custom treatment that combines oral posture therapy (aka Mewing or Myofunctional therapy), a growth appliance, and epigenetic orthodontics.
Together these things develop and train your mouth and facial structures to be in the optimal position.
An optimal position means that you can be relieved of TMD symptoms, sleep apnea, snoring, poorly developed jaw and facial structure issues (like an underdeveloped chin). Further, you can even avoid extracting teeth unnecessarily, and jaw surgery.
If you’re ready to look and feel better, we invite you to give our experienced team a call or book your reservation online with our exceptional dentist, Dr. James Powell. We’re excited to show you how advanced training for custom treatments can transform your life!
Published Case Studies
- A 2018 study in the journal of Radiology and Oncology.
- A 2016 study in the Angle Orthodontist journal.
- A 2014 study in the Korean Journal of Orthodontics.
- A 2010 study in the European Journal of Orthodontics.
- A 2009 A 2018 study in the OOOO Journal (for Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, and Oral Radiology.
- Two (1999) videos on the Creed twin case: Part 1 and Part 2