Mewing can work since it still uses existing orthodontic principles except it uses the tongue to apply force instead of traditional orthodontic tools. However, you most likely won't see any noticeable results because of its impracticality along with cessation of bone growth.
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How mewing can work
Theoretically, mewing can work because it is an extrapolation of existing orthodontic principles but it utilizes a different way to generate mechanical force to induce dentofacial change.
Yes, a lot of dentists become embroiled with rage when they hear the word mewing but if you think about it logically, it isn't all that different from how traditional orthodontics work. The caveat is that it uses a creative/unique way in an attempt to achieve the same end result.
The theory is still based off of existing principles
Traditional orthodontics utilize various mediums to generate mechanical force to induce dentofacial change.
Orthodontic force generating mediums:
Wires and brackets. Metal wires and brackets apply pressure to push and move teeth.
Head gear. An extraoral device worn on the head to apply pressure to the jaws.
Palatal expanders. An intraoral metal device that applies pressure to the palate.
Clear aligner trays. Clear plastic align trays apply pressure to the teeth to move them.
All of these tools above generate force/pressure onto the teeth, jaws, and skull in order to cause a change with teeth alignment, jaw alignment, and facial structural changes. Conceptually, mewing is not that far off from these pressure generating orthodontic methods.
Mewing isn't that different
Mewing utilizes tongue posturing to induce dentofacial change by constantly placing the tongue at the roof of the mouth to apply pressure. It is simply a different way of generating force/pressure to get the teeth, skull, and jaw to change.
How to mew:
Lips together. The lips touching will form a natural seal in the mouth.
Teeth lightly touching. Don't clench down, just have them be in light contact.
Tongue to the roof. Push your tongue up against the palate until the posterior third of it is in contact with the roof.
From a conceptual standpoint, mewing is a creative/unique way of creating pressure in the mouth. It uses the tongue in lieu of braces, head gear, palatal expanders, and aligner trays.
Do you agree that the core concept is not that far off? We believe so but with that being said, we don't think it works very well and you probably won't see any results if you do it. There are a couple of reasons for that.
Mewing probably won't work
You most likely won't see any results from mewing because it is impractical and it doesn't work if your bones have stopped growing.
It is impractical
In order for mewing to work, you must be constantly mewing for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. That means you have to place your tongue on the roof of your mouth all day long for an extended period of time.
If you don't do that, there will be no pressure applied to your jaw and consequently no changes will be induced will be made to your jaw and face. It is the same concept as how if you don't wear your aligner trays, your teeth won't move. Therefore if you aren't mewing, you won't get any changes.
It is of our opinion that it is impractical to expect a person to mew that much in an entire day and for over a long period of time. That is more dedication and work than a normal job which only requires 8-9 hours of work per day.
We are highly skeptical that anyone has that level of dedication to pull it off. We as dentists, can barely convince our patients to spend 5 minutes a day to brush twice and floss once. But yet, mewing expects you to do it the entire day?!
Traditional orthodontics bypasses these impracticalities
In contrast to mewing which requires active effort on your part to place your tongue to the roof, traditional orthodontics uses passive effort.
As an example, braces with wires and brackets will actively place pressure onto your teeth and jaws without you having to lift a finger. They are constantly working even if you are sleeping.
That is in stark contrast to mewing where as soon as you fall asleep or if you forget to move your tongue into position, it stops working. Ultimately, normal orthodontic appliances do all of the work for you while mewing requires you to put in the work yourself.
Bones stop growing
In theory, mewing can work but only while your bones are still growing. By applying pressure with your tongue while your jawbone and skull are still developing, you can influence how it may potentially develop.
However, once your bones have stopped growing, it doesn't matter how much mechanical pressure you apply to it, they won't change. Evidence for this can be observed in daily life where people stop growing in height after a certain age, usually during early adulthood. Have you seen anyone in their mid-20s or later grow any taller?
You haven't because the growth plates have fused and will no longer grow. Professor Steve Gallik has x-rays images of the epiphyseal plate (growth plate) of bones where they slowly fuse over time. Once it becomes calcified the bone shape/structure will not change.
This is the reason why people in adulthood who wish to be taller undergo limb lengthening surgery. Their bones have stopped growing and will not change in shape/size.
Simply playing sports and applying mechanical pressure to the joints won't produce enough of a stimulus to induce growth.
You need surgical intervention in order to add height.
The same can be said for mewing, tongue posturing will not generate enough pressure to induce changes once you've stopped growing! Therefore, if you're beyond puberty and not actively growing, the chances for mewing to work are close to non-existent.
Is mewing safe?
Mewing can potentially be harmful especially if you have pre-existing TMJ problems but if you don't it can be safe for you to try.
If you don't believe us, Mike Mew himself says it is a risk in his own video.
How mewing affects the TMJ:
Placing the tongue to the palate will place the TMJ into a retruded position.
This altered position of the TMJ joint may worsen pre-existing issues.
Therefore if you're already having TMJ clicking/popping or any type of discomfort, you should not attempt mewing. There is no cure for TMJ disorders so you definitely don't want to make it worse.
Verdict: Does mewing work?
Mewing can work but only if you're still in puberty and if you are willing to spend every waking moment of your life placing the tongue onto the roof of your mouth.
Therefore, it probably won't work for you because you're most likely already into adulthood and have stopped growing. We are also doubtful that there is anyone on this planet that will have the dedication necessary for 24/7 mewing.
Why we're doubtful:
Are you dedicated enough to even spend a minute everyday to floss?
What about running 3x a week to keep your heart healthy?
Do you want a full time job that is 16 hours a day?
Honestly, instead of this DIY home remedy to get straighter teeth and to improve your facial shape, you might as well get traditional orthodontics. That way you don't have to do any work and you can let the orthodontic devices do it for you passively.
Mewing requires you to put in a lot of active work on your part. We're sure that you've much more interesting things to do with your life than to constantly think about sticking your tongue to your palate. Last but not least, our dentists in Long Island City won't become believers until all of our patients floss at least once per day...